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Germany supports Schalit release
By MELISSA EDDY
Associated Press
2011-10-12 03:55 AM
Germany has commended the deal Israel and Hamas have reached for the release of an Israeli soldier held hostage, and Israel's government has thanked Germans the role they played in the negotiations.

Germany has repeatedly sought to mediate between Israel and Hamas to secure the release of Israeli Sgt. Gilad Schalit. Both sides announced Tuesday that he would be freed in exchange for around 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

A German official in Berlin said Tuesday that Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle had lobbied for Schalit's release during a rare visit to Gaza in November. The official was not authorized to give his name, given the sensitive nature of the information.

In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked German mediators and Chancellor Angel Merkel for their help in securing the deal.

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