Israel comes to standstill to remember soldier captured by Palestinian militants 5 years ago

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 15, 2011; 5:24 AM

JERUSALEM - Traffic has come to a standstill on major roads across Israel as activists hold a nationwide five-minute protest to draw attention to the plight of a captured Israeli soldier still held by Palestinian militants.

Sgt. Gilad Schalit was captured nearly five years ago in a cross-border raid by Gaza militants, and successive Israeli governments have been unable to bring him home.

Gaza's Hamas rulers want the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, including many convicted of murdering Israelis, in exchange for Schalit.

During Tuesday's protest, cars stopped and flag-waving demonstrators gathered in major intersections.

Little is known about Schalit's condition. His captors have barred access to him and released only a brief videotaped statement two years ago to prove he was alive.

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