CAIRO, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier that has been released on Tuesday by the Islamic Hamas Movement after five years in captivity, said he is in good condition in a televised speech, Egypt's state TV reported.
"I hope the prisoner swap deal will advance the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis," said the freed soldier, who had been held captive for five years since he was abducted by Hamas militants in a cross-border raid on an Israeli army base southeast of the Gaza Strip in June 2006.
Shalit was handed over to Egypt secretly on Tuesday morning at Rafah crossing point between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, shortly after buses carrying Palestinian prisoners from Israel were about to enter Egypt.
He had been held as a hostage at an unknown location in the Gaza Strip and was deprived of medical cares and visits of the International Committee of the Red Cross, as Hamas claimed that any humanitarian and medical visit could leak the location where he was jailed.
Israeli and Hamas officials declared last Tuesday that they had reached a deal brokered by Egypt, under which 1,027 prisoners in Israeli jails will be released in exchange for Gilad Shalit.
The first stage of the deal is to swap Shalit for 477 prisoners, including 27 women. Hamas selected most of the names of those prisoners. Two months later, Israel will free another 550 prisoners.
Among the 477 prisoners freed on Tuesday, 293 will arrive in Gaza, including 163 from the West Bank and agreed to be deported to the Gaza Strip.