POSTED: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 7:05am
UPDATED: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 7:08am
BETUNIA BORDER CROSSING, Israel (NBC33) — Israeli soldier, Sergeant Gilad Schalit, held by Hamas militants for more than five and a half years in the Gaza strip is back home. But the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, promised in exchange for Sergeant Schalit, has been stalled by riots.
Busses carrying the prisoners left Israeli prisons Tuesday morning, heading into Egypt.
Just minutes before prisoners were to be released at the Betunia border crossing, Israeli officials announced that the prisoners were going to be taken to a different location to be released. Waiting Palestinian families on the other side of the border started to throw stones at the crossing after the news was announced. Israeli border guards fired tear gas back at the rioters.
Earlier Tuesday, Sergeant Schalit was released by Hamas gunmen to Egyptian authorities who then handed him over to the Israeli military.
The prisoner exchange was brokered last week, when Israel's government made a deal with Hamas to free more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in return for his freedom.