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Israel Frees Palestinian Prisoners

  • VOA  News

Israel has freed nearly 400 Palestinian prisoners, in a move aimed at shoring up Palestinian support for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Thursday's release completes Israel's pledge in February to free 900 prisoners as part of an Israel-Palestinian cease-fire deal. An estimated eight thousand Palestinians remain in Israeli jails. The prisoners were welcomed home in the West bank and Gaza Strip by thousands of family members and supporters. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office announced the release last week. A statement said the measure was aimed at boosting support for moderate elements within the Palestinian Authority, as Mr. Abbas moves to prevent Hamas militants from attacking Israeli targets. Israeli radio said 200 of the prisoners released Thursday were members of Hamas.
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