550 Palestinians return home under 2nd phase of prisoner swap deal - 19 Dec 2011 - English

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550 Palestinians were released from Israeli prisons on Sunday evening in the second and final phase of a prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel where 1,027 Palestinian prisoners were released by Israel in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The freed prisoners were received by thousands of cheering family members and friends gathered in Ramallah to receive them. Out of the 550 freed prisoners, two are from Jerusalem al-Quds, 506 are from other parts of the West Bank, 40 from Gaza, and 2 are Jordanian. Also, Israel released 55 out of the 164 under-the-age-of-18-years-old Palestinian prisoners and 6 out of the 11 female prisoners. Before the release of the prisoners, confrontations broke out between anticipating Palestinian youth and the Israeli occupation forces in front of the Israeli Ofar prison, where the West bank prisoners were released from. 25 Palestinians and 1 Israeli soldier were wounded. 400 out of the 550 prisoners released on Sunday have finished two-thirds of their sentences. Since the first phase of the prisoner exchange, Israel has detained approximately the same number of Palestinians that it freed 2 months ago. Now The Palestinians have concerns that Israel will replace the 550 prisoners freed today with the same number of Palestinians in their prisons within the next few months.

Added by PTV on 20-12-2011
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