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Huge rally to be held in Gaza
Shalit deal: Hamas prepares to celebrate
Major rally planned for Gaza to celebrate swap, Hamas prepares to hand over Shalit
Hamas was setting up huge stages across Gaza Friday evening ahead of mass celebrations in the Strip to mark the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap.

 

Hamas official Ashrad Zaid said that a large rally will be held at a central Gaza square under the banner: "Delivering on the promise – loyalty to free men." All Gaza-bound prisoners to be released in the Shalit deal will be attending the rally, as well as all senior Palestinian officials in Gaza, Zaid said.

 

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Meanwhile, Hamas representatives officially informed the families of prisoners in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza that their sons will be returning home in the framework of the swap. A Hamas delegation visited the families and congratulated them for the upcoming release. According to Hamas' websites, detainees' relatives thanked the group's armed wing, Izz al-Din al-Qassam brigades for securing the release.

 

Hamas media outlets published Wednesday night the list of 450 prisoners to be freed in the first phase of the swap. The list includes mass murderers responsible for some of the worst terror attacks in Israel's history.

 

Hamas informs prisoners' families
Hamas informs prisoners' families

 

Hamas is also preparing to implement the prisoner exchange, which will see Shalit handed over to Egypt and from there headed to Israel. The handover will require Hamas to undertake a major operation, among other reasons to prevent prisoners' relatives who oppose the swap from interfering with Shalit's transfer to Egypt.

 

The group also summoned representatives of all Palestinian factions in Gaza for a meeting Saturday to update them on the swap and preparations to welcome the freed detainees.

 

Meanwhile, Knesset Member Talab el-Sana called Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh Friday to thank him for including Arab Israeli citizens in the Shalit swap.

 

The MK expressed his hope that Israeli prisons will be emptied of detainees and that peace shall prevail, his office said.

 

Maor Buchnik, Elioir Levy, Roi Kais and Moran Azoulay contributed to the report

 

 

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