An Israeli negotiator traveled to Egypt late Thursday reportedly armed with a near consensus among Israeli cabinet ministers for the unprecedented release of jailed Palestinian terrorists who have killed Israelis.
According government officials who spoke to Israel's Channel 10 News, most cabinet ministers have agreed to free Palestinian security prisoners "with blood on their hands" in exchange for abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
In previous prisoner releases Israel has always refused to release Palestinian terrorists who had succeeded in killing Israelis.
But the Hamas-linked terrorists holding Shalit in the Gaza Strip have refused to compromise on their original demand that Israel free some 1,400 jailed terrorists, many of them convicted murderers, in exchange for the young soldier.
Israel reportedly softened its traditional position under pressure from Egypt, which maintains close ties to Hamas.
Shalit has been held captive in Gaza since June 25, 2006, when Palestinian terrorists infiltrated southern Israel and attacked his tank unit.