Israel's General Security Services (GSS) said Wednesday they had yet to debrief Gilad Shalit on his five years in the hands of the Hamas terror organization, but were able to draw some conclusions about his captivity based on statements he made before returning home.
Security officials say they believe Shalit was held in southern Gaza, probably in one of the tunnels bordering Egypt.
This runs counter to the many rumors Israel's intelligence community pursued, including that he was held at the Islamic University in Gaza City, the bunkers of Kfar Darom, or the cellars of the hospital in Shifa.
They added Hamas' security was remarkably tight, allowing only a very small circle of terrorists to approach him. Due to persistent injuries, including shrapnel from his abduction, they estimate he was was treated by personal physicians rather than a comprehensive institution, and that aside from those physicians, only hand-picked guards and senior Hamas leaders had access to him.
The officials also say they believe he did not have his glasses initially, but was later provided with a pair, and that he seemed to have been given access to television in recent years – apparently Arab networks - as he was aware of the Egyptian revolution, that Binyamin Netanyahu was Prime Minister, and recognized Benny Gantz, only recently appointed IDF Chief of Staff.
He was also aware of how much media attention his captivity had received, and was aware of which members of his tank crew were killed during his abduction, they added.
Shalit was traded for the first 477 of 1,027 terrorists to be released in Tuesday under a deal brokered by Israel’s cabinet for his freedom. After being ambushed by the Egyptian media, he was handed over to Israeli officials who flew him to the Tel Nof Air force Base in Rehovot. He reportedly fainted during the flight.
At Tel Nof, Shalit was greeted by a delegation of senior officials lead by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu before being given a more in-depth medical examination, including ultra-sound, dental examination, and photos of his injuries and overall condition.
GSS officials say they expect to fully debrief Shalit, who has just begun adjusting to being home again, in the coming weeks.