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Palestinians want 1,000 freed in return for one Israeli soldier

A list of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners wanted in exchange for long-term hostage Corporal Gilad Shalit has been presented to the Israeli government in the biggest sign of progress towards securing his release for nearly a year.

Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian politician, headed the list of hundreds of prisoners the Palestinian authorities want released in exchange for Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was seized in a cross-border raid from Gaza in June last year by militants allied to the Hamas faction.

For many Israelis, the idea of letting the elder Barghouti go free is an abomination.

Freeing Shalit has also been cited by some European countries as one of the steps the coalition cabinet must take if it wants the crippling sanctions imposed after Hamas took office last year, to be eased.