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26 Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli jails
Twenty-six prisoners leave Ayalon Prison in vans with tinted windows; arrive in Gaza, West Bank were hundreds, including President Mahmoud Abbas welcome them. Abbas: We won't rest until all prisoners are released; rocket lands in western Negev

After weeks of cabinet discussions, protests and High Court petitions, 26 Palestinian prisoners were released Tuesday night as part of an Israeli gesture to the Palestinian Authority in the wake of resuming peace talks.  

 

Two convoys left the Ayalon Prison Tuesday night en route to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The first convoy, carrying 15 prisoners, reached the Erez checkpoint and shortly after 1 am was allowed to cross into Gaza. The second, carrying 11 prisoners, initially arrived at the Ofer Prison and from there headed to Ramallha after passing through the Beitunia checkpoint. 

 

The prisoners were transported in vans with tinted windows to avoid the semblance of a victorious release.

Abbas welcomes prisoners (Video: Reuters)

סגורסגור

שליחה לחבר

 הקלידו את הקוד המוצג
תמונה חדשה

שלח
הסרטון נשלח לחברך

סגורסגור

הטמעת הסרטון באתר שלך

 קוד להטמעה:

Activists protesting the release tried to block the convoy's way but were soon removed from the area. Meanwhile, a Color Red siren sounded in Sderot and the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council. A rocket landed in an open area.

 

Convoy leaves Ayalon Prison (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Convoy leaves Ayalon Prison (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
 

 

Several hundred Palestinians welcomed the prisoners at the Beitunia checkpoint. 

 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed a crowd of 1,000 people at the Mukataa in Ramallah. "We welcome our brothers who have left the darkness of prison into the light of freedom and tell them they are the first but there are other brothers who too will leave soon. We shall not rest until they are all with us." The prisoners first visited the grave of Yasser Arafat. 

 

Convoys leave Ayalon Prison

סגורסגור

שליחה לחבר

 הקלידו את הקוד המוצג
תמונה חדשה

שלח
הסרטון נשלח לחברך

סגורסגור

הטמעת הסרטון באתר שלך

 קוד להטמעה:

Tuesday's release is the first of four phases which will see some 100 prisoners freed as negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians progress.

 

Related stories:

 

The identity of the 26 men was decided by a ministerial committee chaired by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon that conferred with heads of the defense establishment.

 

Protesters outside Ayalon Prison (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Protesters outside Ayalon Prison (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
 

 

The decision prompted protest by the families of the terrorists' victims who filed a petition with the High Court of Justice that was ultimately denied.

 

In an official statement Tuesday, Supreme Court President Asher Grunis wrote: "There is no dispute that the issue at hand is difficult and sensitive. Our hearts go out to the families of the terror victims."

 

Video: Reuters

סגורסגור

שליחה לחבר

 הקלידו את הקוד המוצג
תמונה חדשה

שלח
הסרטון נשלח לחברך

סגורסגור

הטמעת הסרטון באתר שלך

 קוד להטמעה:

Prior to their release, the prisoners will undergo a medical examination and will be interviewed by prison staff. It is unclear whether the 26 men were asked to sign a paper to pledge they will not engage in terrorist activity, as in past cases. An Israel Prison Service official said that the guards are prepared for the procedure.

 

Poster of prisoner in Hebron (Photo: Reuters)
Poster of prisoner in Hebron (Photo: Reuters)
 

 

Police cars and motorcycles will escort the prisoners' convoy on its way to the checkpoints.

 

The Hamas government issued a ban against celebrations by the Fatah movement. The government said that a special welcoming ceremony will be held later in the week.

 

Hamas had ordered the removal of a welcome tent set up by Fatah in Khan Younis and warned printing presses not to print posters connected to the prisoners release. 

 

Raanan Ben-Zur, Gilad Morag, Elior Levy and Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report

 

 

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First published: 13.08.13, 20:49
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