Israeli Soldier's Father: 'We Are Waiting for Him'

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- It's been a long week for the family of abducted Israeli solider Gilad Shalit.

Following Tuesday's announcement of a deal with the Hamas terror group, Shalit's parents left the protest tent outside the prime minister's Jerusalem residence and returned to their home in northern Israel.

Speaking with the Israeli press, his father, Noam, said they are cautiously optimistic that all will go well with the prisoner exchange.

"I hope it will go smoothly. The nightmare isn't over until Gilad is on our doorstep," he told reporters from their home in Mitzpe Hila.

Just past midnight Saturday, Israel published a list of 450 male and 27 female prisoners to be released on Tuesday. Of the 477 inmates, 280 were serving life sentences for kidnapping and murder.

Families of terror victims have 48 hours to petition the court against the release. 

Israel's chief negotiator, Dan Meidan, flew to Cairo Saturday night to oversee the details of the prisoner exchange. Initial, though unconfirmed, reports indicate that Shalit will be transferred to Egypt via the Rafah border crossing and handed over to Egyptian security forces and a small Israeli delegation.  

After identification and a preliminary physical, Shalit will be flown to an IDF (Israel Defense Forces) base, while prisoners are bussed from the Ketziyot Prison in the south and Hasharon Prison in central Israel to the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Egypt.

At the base, the long-awaited reunion with his family will take place, followed by more thorough medical examinations.   

Israel will release an additional 550 prisoners in stage two.

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