Israel releases 26 Palestinian prisoners | Inquirer News
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Israel releases 26 Palestinian prisoners

/ 08:26 AM December 31, 2013

Relatives of Israelis killed in attacks by Palestinian militants, hold photos of victims during a demonstration against the release of 26 long-serving Palestinian prisoners, in Jerusalem, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. Israel and the Palestinians are gearing up for the expected release by Israel of 26 of the longest-serving Palestinian prisoners. Israel has agreed to release the men, who were all convicted in deadly attacks of Israelis, as part of a U.S.-brokered package to restart peace talks. AP

OFER PRISON–Israel released early Tuesday 26 Palestinian prisoners, a Palestinian official told AFP, in accordance with commitments made to revive US-brokered peace talks.

“Two vans carrying (18) prisoners left Ofer prison and were headed to Ramallah” in the West Bank, the official said, adding that three other prisoners were being released to the Gaza Strip and five others to east Jerusalem.

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Tuesday’s release was the third stage of the freeing of 104 inmates that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed to let go in four stages, when the peace talks were renewed in July.

It came after an Israeli court rejected a last-minute appeal by victims’ families, as US Secretary of State John Kerry was preparing to travel to the region in a bid to boost faltering peace talks with Israelis and Palestinians,

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AFP correspondents in Ramallah, Gaza and east Jerusalem reported the freed prisoners had reached their destinations just before 02:30 am (0030 GMT).

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TAGS: Armed conflict, Gaza Strip, Israel, Palestinian, Peace Talks, prisoners, West Bank
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