The latest group of 544 men and six women does not include any members of Hamas
Palestinian youths stand behind mock prison walls as they perform in a street play depicting the arrest of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Jenin. Israel has published a list of a further 550 Palestinian prisoners who will be freed in the coming days to complete a swap deal which brought about the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit. © Saif Dahlah - AFP/File
The latest group of 544 men and six women does not include any members of Hamas
AFP
Last updated: December 15, 2011

Israel names Palestinian prisoners to be freed

Israel has published a list of a further 550 Palestinian prisoners who will be freed in the coming days to complete a swap deal which brought about the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit.

Unlike the group of 477 prisoners freed on October 18 at the same time as Shalit, there are no senior militants on the list, Palestinian sources said, with the inmates to be released on the evening of December 18.

On the list is French-Palestinian national Salah Hamuri, who was convicted of trying to assassinate a Jewish religious leader and had been due to complete his seven-year sentence in March.

The earlier group had included hundreds of Palestinians who were serving life for deadly attacks, with the names chosen by the Islamist Hamas movement which rules Gaza and which signed the swap deal with Israel.

The latest group of 544 men and six women has been selected by Israel and does not include any members of Hamas or Islamic Jihad.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an Israeli official told AFP none of them had "blood on their hands."

"The names were chosen by Israel alone," he said, adding priority was given to members of the Fatah movement of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

The Israel Prisons Service, which published the list on its website on Wednesday night, said the public had 48 hours in which to file any objections and provided the number of a justice ministry hotline set up for the purpose.

It said 40 of those to be freed would be returned to their homes in the Gaza Strip, two to Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, two to Jordan and the remainder to the occupied West Bank.

Under the October deal, Israel agreed to free a total of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of Shalit who had been held in Hamas captivity in Gaza for more than five years.

It was the first time in 26 years that a captured soldier has been returned to Israel alive.

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