Ziad Abu Ayn, director of prisoner affairs in the Palestinian Authority said Friday that among the 255 prisoners released are 30 members of Hamas and two members of the Islamic Jihad.
The Palestinian Authority, he told Ynet, does not distinguish between prisoners: "they are all our prisoners, all our sons." The PA, he added, is proud of the fact that prisoners affiliated with Hamas and Jihad are among the released.
Ayn's words are the first official statement made regarding the prisoners' affiliations. So far, the majority of prisoners were believed to be of Fatah, with about 15 percents of them of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democtaric Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).
The prisoners, who left Ketziot prison in the early hours of Friday morning, have made there way to the Bitunia checkpoint, where – once over on the Palestinian side - they are to be greeted by top Palestinian officials, including president Mahmoud Abbas.
According to the guidelines approved earlier in the week by a special Israeli governmental committee headed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the prisoners release do not have any "blood on their hands".
Those released were jailed for lesser charges, including weapons trafficking, illegal passion of firearms, belonging to an illegal organization, attempted murder, attempted manslaughter and aiding and abetting fugitives.
Among those scheduled for release is PLFP deputy secretary-general Abdel Rahim Mallouh.
Mallouh, one of the more moderate forces in the PLFP, was arrested in 2002 during an IDF operation in Ramallah and charged with affiliation in an illegal organization. He was scheduled for release in 2009.