Deported Palestinian prisoners reach destinations

Of the 40 prisoners that were deported, 15 went to Syria, 11 to Turkey, one to Jordan and the rest to Qatar, Al Jazeera reports.

October 19, 2011 10:26
2 minute read.
Palestinian prisoners swapped for Schalit in Syria

Prisoners arrive in Syria 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

All of the Palestinian prisoners slated for deportation to foreign countries as part of the deal to release kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit reached their destinations on Wednesday morning.

Of the 40 prisoners that were deported, 15 went to Syria, 11 to Turkey, one to Jordan and the rest to Qatar, Al Jazeera reported.

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A private plane flew ten men and one woman from Cairo to the Turkish capital Ankara, where they were met at Esenboga Airport by the Palestinian envoy to Ankara Nabil Maarouf and Turkish Foreign Ministry officials.

"We are grateful to the Turkish government for its support in the process of releasing the Palestinians and bringing them to Turkey," state-run Anatolian news agency quoted Maarouf as telling reporters at the airport.

"God willing we will continue to seek Turkey's support until Palestine attains freedom," he added.

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

"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.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report

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