CBNNews.com - TEL HASHOMER, Israel - Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of General Staff Lt. General Gabi Ashkenazi said Israel must make every effort to secure the return captured IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit.
Shalit has been in enemy hands since June 25, 2006, when he was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists during a cross-border attack on an IDF outpost near the Kerem Shalom crossing with the Gaza Strip. Two soldiers were killed and three wounded in the attack.
In remarks welcoming new Armored Corps recruits at the Military Induction Center in Tel Hashomer Monday, Ashkenazi said soldiers "must always remember that if anything happens to them, we will make sure they're returned to their families."
"What will the IDF do when we go out to the lines and what will the State do in order to return a hostage, alive or dead?" one of the inductees asked the IDF chief.
"That's a very good question," Ashkenazi said. "Gilad Shalit has been held hostage for over two years, and we must make every effort to see that he is returned," he said.
"We know he is alive and we know where he is being held," Ashkenazi said.
"It is vital that soldiers know that if something happens to them, there is someone who will make every effort to bring them back," the IDF chief told the inductees.
Meanwhile on Sunday, the Cabinet appointed a ministerial panel to reconsider the criteria for releasing Palestinian prisoners "with blood on their hands," those directly involved in terror attacks that killed Israelis.
Vice Premier Haim Ramon will lead the panel, made up of Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, Justice Minister Daniel Friedman and Minster-without-Portfolio Ami Ayalon.
Hamas has demanded the release of 450 prisoners in exchange for Corporal Shalit. Israel approved 70 of the 450 names on the list.
Sources: Ynet news, Haaretz