Israel frees 26 Palestinians in second round of prisoner releases

PA vows no peace agreement will be completed until all Palestinian inmates freed, as Abbas greets prisoners in Ramallah.

By JPOST.COM
October 30, 2013 01:41
4 minute read.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas (C) welcomes Palestinian prisoners released in Ramallah.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas with released terrorist prisoners in Ramallah. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

 
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Israel in the early hours of Wednesday completed the release of 26 long-serving Palestinian prisoners in the second part of a four stage deal with the Palestinian Authority brokered at the start of the current round of peace talks.

Twenty-one inmates convicted of killing Israelis before the 1993 Oslo accords were released from Ofer Prison and returned to Ramallah in the West Bank via the Beitunia checkpoint.



Five prisoners were freed to the Gaza Strip after they set out from the prison earlier in the day to await their release at the Erez border crossing.

Some two-thousand Palestinians gathered late Tuesday at Mukata, the PLO presidential compound, in Ramallah to celebrate the release of the 21 prisoners to the West Bank, Israel Radio reported.

The crowds waved flags baring the symbols of the PLO, Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and carried signs with pictures of the convicted murderers.

"Our heroes are coming home, long live the prisoners," they chanted in the predawn celebrations.

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