TEL NOF AIR BASE, Israel - Israel's prime minister has warned the Palestinian militants freed in a prisoner swap that they will be punished if they return to violence.
Benjamin Netanyahu issued the warning after greeting Staff Sgt. Gilad Schalit, the Israeli soldier who had been held by Hamas militants for five years.
Hamas, the militant Palestinian group which controls Gaza, agreed to release Schalit in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, some 300 of whom were serving life sentences for deadly attacks on Israelis.
Netanyahu said he understood the pain of Israeli families who have lost relatives in Palestinian violence.
He said, "We will continue to fight terror and every released terrorist who returns to terror will be held accountable."
When Tuesday's exchange is complete, 477 Palestinians held in Israeli jails, including 27 women, will have been released, several of them after decades behind bars. The other 550 are set to be released in two months.
Included among the prisoners is Abdel Aziz Salha, who helped kill two Israeli soldiers who made a wrong turn on the West Bank and were stabbed to death; Nasser Yateima, who planned a 2002 hotel bombing that killed 30 people celebrating Passover; and Awana Jawad Mona, who seduced a 16-year-old Israeli boy over the Internet to come meet her. That boy, Ofir Rahum, was shot and killed when he arrived.
CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reported that, to Hamas, the prisoner swap deal is being portrayed as a great victory by a lopsided score: 1,027 to 1.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians, many waving green Hamas flags, are celebrating at a mass rally in Gaza.
In the West Bank, Hamas' political rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, addressed a crowd of thousands, including freed prisoners. Abbas praised them as "freedom fighters."