First batch of Palestinian prisoners freed

As peace talks begin, Israel released 15 Palestinian prisoners to Gaza and another 11 to the West Bank.


Early on Wednesday, Israel released 26 Palestinian prisoners - 15 to Gaza and 11 to West Bank - as part of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The release happened just hours before the first official meeting between the negotiation teams.  

Israeli media reported the release took place later at night in order to avoid big celebrations among Palestinians, and to minimise publications in the newspaper the following day.

All but one of the prisoners were jailed before the Palestinian Authority was formed in 1994.

The prisoners released to the West Bank arrived at the headquarters of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where their families waited for hours to meet them.

Meanwhile, outside Israel's Ayalon prison in the city of Ramla, right-wing activists and family members of Jewish prisoners who murdered Palestinians protested, demanding that their relatives also be released.