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'Plane carrying 11 Palestinian prisoners lands in Turkey'

October 19, 2011 03:21

Turkish FM says inmates' crimes erased as a result of exchange, denies claims prisoners may pose threat to Turkey, 'Today's Zaman' reports.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

Davutoglu 311 R. (photo credit:REUTERS/Osman Orsal)

A plane carrying 11 Palestinian prisoners released on Tuesday in an Israel-Hamas prisoner swap landed early Wednesday morning in Turkey, Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman reported.

Earlier on Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters that Ankara views the Israel-Hamas prisoner swap as a humanitarian issue.

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"Turkey is a country which (the Palestinians) should regard as their homeland," he added, according to the report.

He rejected claims that the prisoners released to Turkey may pose a threat to the country, saying that "regardless of whether we see the alleged crimes committed by them as a crime, this deal with Israel amounts to (the crimes) being written off."

Amna Muna, a female prisoner who lured 16-year-old Ofir Rahum to Ramallah where he was murdered in 2001, was one of the eleven prisoners released in the deal to land in Turkey.

Muna was slated to be released to Gaza, but refused, temporarily delaying the prisoner swap on Tuesday.

Israel completed the transfer of all 477 prisoners being released as part of the Gilad Schalit prisoner exchange to Egypt and the West Bank on Tuesday after confirming that Schalit is in good health and had entered Israel.

Some 400 wardens accompanied 10 convoys during the operation. No unusual incidents were recorded.

The majority of prisoners were being transferred to Gaza from Egypt, while 40 prisoners were scheduled to be deported to foreign capitals

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