The Minister of Palestinian Detainees and Ex-detainees Affairs, Issa Qaraqe’, has urged Egypt to exert pressure on Israel to free long-term prisoners, the Palestinian news agency, Ma’an reported on Thursday.Qaraqe’ called on the Egyptian government to make efforts to release detainees imprisoned before 1993.

He stated that 127 Palestinian prisoners have been incarcerated for about 18 years.
He added that most of the long-term prisoners were not included in the recent prisoner-swap deal.

The deal was concluded between Hamas and Israel to release over 1000 Palestinian detainees in return for freeing the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who was captured in the Gaza strip in 2006.

In October, 477 prisoners were freed in the first phase of the swap. However, a further 550 are going to be released soon in the second phase, in which the Minister asked Egypt to include long-term prisoners.

He also said that many of the prisoners who have been in Israeli jails are now elderly, and 45 of them are seriously ill, suffering from cancer, paraplegia and heart diseases.