Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on Wednesday handed thank you letters to the envoys of France and Germany for President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel, for their efforts to secure his release from his Palestinian captors three months ago, DPA reported.
"I want to thank you with all my heart for the unlimited support you have given me and your efforts to bring about my release," Shalit wrote in a letter addressed to Sarkozy and the French people, Israeli media reported.
Shalit and his father, Noam Shalit, met with French ambassador Christophe Bigot and German ambassador Andreas Michaelis in Tel Aviv. Gerhard Conrad of Germany's Federal Intelligence Service is believed to have mediated the negotiations that led to Shalit's release.
Shalit, who is a dual French-Israeli citizen, spent more than five years in captivity after he was snatched in a 2006 cross-border raid by Palestinian militants. He was released in October in a prisoner swap deal between Israel and the enclave's Islamist Hamas rulers.