JERUSALEM - Israel released 19 female Palestinian prisoners Friday morning after officials reviewed the one-minute video meant to confirm that kidnapped Israel Defense Forces Cpl. Gilad Shalit is alive and healthy. One more prisoner will be released on Sunday.
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi viewed the video after it had been verified by Hagai Hadas, who now heads negotiations for Shalit's release for the Netanyahu government.
Hadas received the video from German mediator Ernst Urlau, who has joined Egyptian efforts to arrange a prisoner exchange with Hamas, the Palestinian faction ruling the Gaza Strip.
Hadas delivered a copy of the video to the prime minister for his review.
Brig.-General Avi Zamir was tasked with bring a copy of the tape to Shalit's family, who will help decide whether the video should be made public.
Gilad Shalit has been held prisoner since June 25, 2006, when he was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists in a cross-border attack on an IDF outpost near the border with Gaza.
The ruling Hamas party has not allowed anyone to visit Shalit in the three years he has been held captive, neither his family, government officials or the International Red Cross.
Egyptian efforts to mediate a prisoner exchange has yet to yield results.
Hamas has demanded the release of up to 1,400 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit, including some serving time for murder.