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'US concerned over some Palestinians freed in swap'

October 18, 2011 22:23

State Department says some released Palestinian prisoners pose a threat, the US objected to their freedom, AFP reports.

Palestinian prisoners enter Gaza from Egypt

Palestinian prisoners enter Gaza 311. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The United States told Israel it was concerned about some of the Palestinian prisoners that were released on Tuesday in exchange for IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, AFP reported.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner, while refusing to go into detail over which of the 477 inmates caused the US concern, said some of the prisoners being released posed a threat and that the US had objected to their freedom.

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Schalit was freed in exchange for over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, many of whom are members of groups designated as terrorist organizations by Washington.

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Toner said, however, that the US was not aware of any Palestinians that were denied release because of US concerns, saying the deal was a "sovereign decision" on Israel's part, AFP reported.

Earlier on Tuesday, both US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said they were pleased by Schalit's release.

Clinton, who made the comments during a surprise visit to Tripoli in Libya, said
“We are pleased that a long ordeal…has ended for Gilad Schalit," adding that it had taken "far too long."

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters during Obama's bus tour in North Carolina that it was not yet clear how Schalit's release would impact the Middle East peace process but said Obama was "personally pleased" by the development.

"Each side needs to take steps that make it easier to return to negotiations rather than harder," Carney said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Click for full JPost coverage on Gilad Schalit

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