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Sources: Progress on Shalit release talks

Sources: Progress on Shalit release talks
In this photo, taken from a video released by Hamas of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit reading a letter to his family on September 14, 2009. The video was released by the Hamas in Gaza in exchange for the release of 19 Palestinian women prisoners today, October 2, 2009. UPI/Debbie Hill | License Photo

JERUSALEM, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Progress has been made in striking a deal to secure the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, multiple sources say.

A source close to the families of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel told Haaretz Wednesday signs of a breakthrough in talks to free Shalit, who was abducted by Gaza militants in 2006, are appearing and hopes have been raised he could be freed by Friday's Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.

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"We are receiving hints of significant progress in negotiations, although we are always careful with these things because changes can always occur at the last minute," the source told Haaretz, adding families are hopeful of celebrating a deal by Eid.

An unnamed Hamas source also told the newspaper there has been progress in talks, in which the militant group is demanding the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit.

Hamas, the source reportedly said, may be willing to compromise and send some of the prisoners abroad instead of to their Gaza and West Bank homes.

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