Israel released on Sunday 550 detainees, including two from Jordan and six Palestinian female detainees, as part of the second and final phase of the prisoner swap deal that secured the release on Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.The two female Jordanian detainees were sent to Amman via the al-Karama Bridge.
On October 18, Israel released 477 detainees, named by the resistance, while the captured Israel soldier, Gilad Shalit, was handed by the Hamas movement to Egypt, before he was escorted by Israeli officials back home.
Palestinian sources reported, Sunday, that 41 detainees arrived into the Gaza Strip via the Rafah Border Terminal. The detainees were moved from Ayalon Prison in Ramla to Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) Crossing, in cooperation with the International Red cross, before they were sent to Gaza via the Rafah Border Terminal between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
507 detainees, who were all sent to Ofer Israeli prison, were released Sunday, and were sent to the Palestinian Presidential Headquarters in Ramallah, via the Rafat roadblock where the President’s secretary, Tayyib Abdul-Rahim, several political leaders of different factions, members and of the Palestinian Legislative Council and thousands of residents, gathered to great them.
Abdul-Rahim told the residents that the issue of the detainees in a top priority for President Abbas and his government, and that, similar to phase one, Abbas wanted to welcome the detainees himself, but had to leave the country to due to international obligations.
He added that the Palestinian leadership wants to see all Palestinian detainees freed, with the main focus on elderly detainees, detainees sentenced to high terms, and all women and children.
Abdul-Rahim added that the leadership is committed to implementing the Palestinian Unity Agreement, and thanked Egypt for all of its efforts.
Head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Dr. Aziz Dweik of Hamas, saluted the detainees and stated that every Palestinian detainee must be released.
In Gaza, Dweik’s Deputy, Dr. Ahmad Bahar of Hamas, said that Israel must release all detainees, with no exceptions, adding that should Israel refrain from doing so, “it will be forced to release them, similar to this deal”, referring to the resistance abducting Israeli soldiers to secure the release of Palestinian political prisoners.
Bahar thanked the al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas for “forcing Israel to implement the demands of the resistance”.
He further stated that representatives of Hamas and Fateh are holding meetings in Cairo to secure the final details of the implementation of the unity agreement in order to ensure a united Palestinian government, and a stance that maintains national interests, the Right of Return of all refugees, and Jerusalem the capital of the independent Palestinian State.
In related news, 30 Palestinians, including women and children, were wounded during clashes that took place with the soldiers fired gas bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets at families of the detainees who gathered near the Ofer Prison.