The Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange (Hebrew: עסקת שליט; Arabic: صفقة شاليط) followed a 2011 agreement between Israel and Hamas to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,027 prisoners – mainly Palestinians and Arab-Israelis, although there was also a Ukrainian, a Jordanian and a Syrian. Two hundred and eighty of these were sentenced to life in prison for planning and perpetrating various attacks against Israeli targets. Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari was quoted in the Saudi Arabian newspaper Al-Hayat as confirming that the prisoners released as part of the deal were collectively responsible for the killing of 569 Israelis. The agreement came five years and four months after Palestinian militants captured Shalit in southern Israel along the Gaza Strip border.
The deal, brokered by Mossad official David Meidan through a secret back channel run by Dr. Gershon Baskin and Hamas Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Ghazi Hamad authorized by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on one side and Ahmad Jaabri, head of Ezzedin el Qassam forces in Hamas on the other side. The list of prisoners to be released was based on previous work conducted by German and Egyptian mediators and coordinated by Bundesnachrichtendienst agent Gerhard Conrad, was signed in Egypt on 11 October 2011. Its first phase was executed on 18 October 2011, with Israel releasing 477 Palestinian prisoners and Hamas transferring Shalit to Cairo. In the second phase, which took place during December 2011, another 550 prisoners were released. At Shalit's release Hamas had several militants with suicide belts in case the Israelis attempted to renege on the deal at the last minute.
The agreement is the largest prisoner exchange agreement Israel has ever made and the highest price Israel has ever paid for a single soldier. Gilad Shalit was also the first captured Israeli soldier to be released alive in 26 years.