Nearly a year after the deal with Hamas to release IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, final steps are being carried out to return a group of 18 Palestinian security prisoners to the West Bank, the Shin Bet confirmed on Monday.
The Shin Bet said that the prisoners had been deported to the Gaza Strip and “elsewhere abroad” after the release of Schalit last October, and if the deal goes through they will be in the West Bank in the coming days. The Shin Bet added that the agreement to return them to the West Bank after a year was part of the original prisoner exchange deal brokered with Egypt, which saw the release of 1,027 security prisoners from Israel.
The Shin Bet would not reveal any details about the identities of the prisoners or if they were held in Israeli jails for minor security crimes or were linked to deadly terror attacks in Israel.
A number of the security prisoners released in the Schalit deal were deported outside of the Palestinian territories, including Amna Muna, the female prisoner who was serving a life sentence for luring 16-year-old Ofir Rahum to Ramallah where he was murdered in 2001, and Ahlam Tamimi, one of the architects of the 2001 Sbarro pizza bombing which killed 15 Israeli civilians. Muna refused to be sent to the Gaza Strip and instead was sent to Turkey, while Tamimi was sent to Jordan.