World Bulletin / News Desk
Israel released in the early hours of Wednesday 26 Palestinian detainees, including 21 from the West Bank and 5 from the Gaza Strip.
The detainees had languished in Israel between 19 and 29 years.
After their release, they immediately headed to the Al-Mukata’a compound in Ramallah where they visited the grave of late iconic Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
They were given an official reception at Al-Mukata, the seat of the Palestinian presidency, and were greeted by President Mahmoud Abbas and representatives of Palestinian factions.
Hundreds of jubilant Palestinians also joined the home-welcoming reception.
The Israeli government has earlier approved the release of 104 long-serving Palestinian prisoners on four stages, to be concluded on March 29 of next year, as part of a deal to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks after five years of hiatus.
The new release brings the number of freed prisoners to 52.
In mid-August, Israel released the first batch of 26 Palestinian detainees, including 15 from the Gaza Strip and 11 from the West Bank.
There are more than 5,000 Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails, including 14 women and 180 children, according to the Palestinian Prisoner Club.
The prisoner release is meant to be a "goodwill gesture" on Israel's part.
Palestinian and Israeli negotiators resumed peace talks in late July under US sponsorship following a three-year hiatus.
Ongoing negotiations between the two sides generally take place in complete secrecy. Results of the talks are not announced to the media.Last Mod: 30 Ekim 2013, 09:35