Israel begins releasing 19 Palestinian women from jails

Israel began releasing 19 Palestinian women from its jails on Friday in the first part of a deal with Hamas.

Israel begins releasing 19 Palestinian women from jails

Israel began releasing 19 Palestinian women from its jails on Friday in the first part of a deal with Hamas, in return for a video showing proof that a captured Israeli soldier is alive.

Officials said the 19 women, to be joined by a 20th on Sunday, will first be brought in International Red Cross vehicles to border crossings with the Gaza Strip and West Bank, but will not be freed until Israel gives the green light after viewing the videotape.

Reuters Television saw two black prison vans emerging from Hadarim jail north of Tel Aviv as the handover process began.

Brokered by German and Egyptian mediators, it could be a step towards a broader deal for his release, in return for the release of hundreds of Hamas men.

Officials have said that the German mediator has already viewed the recording and believes it showed Shalit in recent weeks. Shalit's family was expected to view the videotape before its release to the public.

Abu Mujahed, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, said on Wednesday that the video of the soldier lasts about a minute, and "shows Shalit alive and moving".

Israel holds more than 10,000 Palestinian people in jails. Hamas is negotiating for the release of hundreds of its members in exchange for Shalit.

Fifty-three of the prisoners are women, according to Palestinian activists, including the 20 slated for early release Friday.


Agencies

Last Mod: 02 Ekim 2009, 15:06
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