Prime Minister David Cameron has issued a statement on the release of Israeli soldier Sergeant Gilad Shalit and hopes it will "bring peace a step closer".
Mr Cameron said:
I know that people across Britain will share in the joy and relief felt by Gilad Shalit and his family today. I can only imagine the heartache of the last five years, and I am full of admiration for the courage and fortitude which Sergeant Shalit and his family have shown through his long cruel and unjustified captivity. I congratulate Prime Minister Netanyahu and everyone involved for bringing him home safely, and hope this prisoner exchange will bring peace a step closer.
Britain will continue to stand by Israel in defeating terrorism. We remain strongly committed to the cause of peace in the Middle East - with Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side in security. We will continue to work for direct negotiations to achieve that end.