Palestinian prisoners in Israel's Ketziot prison 311 (R).
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)
The Prisons Service transferred 477 Palestinian prisoners set to be released in the Gilad Schalit prisoner exchange deal to two prisons on Sunday, ahead of their release.
Throughout the day, convoys of bulletproof Prisons Service buses, escorted by police, made their way from 11 prisons around the country, ferrying male prisoners to the Ktziot facility in the South, from where they will be dispersed to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and female prisoners to the Sharon prison.
'Egypt in strong position with Hamas after Schalit deal'
Timeline of the proposed prisoner exchange
The prisoners sent to Gaza will be transferred into Egypt via the Kerem Shalom Crossing and will then cross into Gaza from Egypt.
Forty of the prisoners will be transferred to Egypt, and will then travel to different countries arranged for them by Hamas.
The heavy security was in place due to fears that opponents to the deal would attempt to sabotage the transfer.
The first bus containing female prisoners departed from the Damon Prison
in the Carmel and arrived at the Sharon Prison on Sunday morning. The
bus was accompanied by riot police, and traffic was closed in both
directions along segments of the route. Similar scenes were repeated on
Sunday around the country.
Upon arrival, the prisoners were placed in a separate ward from the
general population, and underwent medical examinations and
identification procedures in preparation for their release.
The Israel Police completed preparations earlier Sunday ahead of its
operation to assist in the moving of the large number of terrorists.
“Police are escorting Prisons Service convoys and securing them, while
also safeguarding public order,” Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino said
at the end of an evaluation meeting.
“This is a complex and sensitive operation,” he added.