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Israel stands still for kidnapped soldier

From Michal Zippori, CNN
Supporters of soldier Gilad Shalit in Tel Aviv commemorated five years since his kidnapping by Hamas militants Tuesday.
Supporters of soldier Gilad Shalit in Tel Aviv commemorated five years since his kidnapping by Hamas militants Tuesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Gilad Shalit was kidnapped in 2006
  • The idea for a tribute was circulated on Facebook
  • Israeli President Shimon Peres participated in the effort
RELATED TOPICS
  • Gilad Shalit
  • Israel
  • Hamas

Jerusalem (CNN) -- Life in Israel came to a halt Tuesday morning as thousands of people stood still for five minutes to remember kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Shalit was kidnapped five years ago in 2006 by Hamas militants.

The militants had tunneled into Israel and attacked an Israeli army outpost near the Gaza-Israel-Egypt border, killing two soldiers in the assault.

Israel immediately launched a military incursion into Gaza to rescue Shalit, then 19, but failed to free him.

The five minute stand for Shalit, grew from an idea by one man who circulated it on the social network site Facebook.

Tuesday morning the tribute could be seen on Israeli streets, as cars pulled to the side of the road. Schools halted classes and Israeli President Shimon Peres took part, as television cameras captured him pausing while he was at a conference in southern Israeli city of Eilat.

Since being imprisoned by Hamas, Shalit has not been allowed any contact with the outside world, nor any visits by the Red Cross.

In October 2009, Hamas released a tape of Shalit to prove he was still alive, in which he urged the Israeli government to do more to gain his safe release.

 
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