RealNews

Longest-held Palestinian freed

Israel has released its oldest and longest-serving Palestinian inmate among scores of prisoners freed as a goodwill gesture ahead of a summit with US President George W Bush. Sixty-eight-year-old Ahmad Jbarah was released after serving nearly three decades for his role in a 1975 Jerusalem bomb attack that killed 13 people and wounded 70 others. A cheering crowd hoisted Jbarah on their shoulders as he proceeded to meet Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat before continuing to his nearby village of Tormus Aya to greet his wife. Israel also released about 100 prisoners being held without charges or trial from the Ketziot, Ofer and Megiddo military prisons, the army said. Palestinian Minister for Prisoners’ Affairs Hisham Abdelrazeq welcomed the measure, telling the AFP news agency: “It is a very positive step which creates a good climate for negotiations. “As far as I know, there are 1,700-2,000 members of the security branches in Israeli prisons. It is important to release them, but we are working for the release of all Palestinian prisoners.” Full Story

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