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Prisoner swap: Israel to release hundreds of prisoners for Shalit's freedom

In a prisoner swap, Israel has published the names of 477 Palestinian prisoners who will be released in exhange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit’s freedom.

A Palestinian prisoner looks out a vehicle of the Israeli Prison Service as he is being transferred from Nafha Prison to Ktziot prison in southern Israel.
A Palestinian prisoner looks out a vehicle of the Israeli Prison Service as he is being transferred from Nafha Prison to Ktziot prison in southern Israel.
Image: Tsafrir Abayov/AP/Press Association Images

ISRAEL HAS PUBLISHED the names of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners who will be released on Tuesday in exchange for captured soldier Gilad Shalit’s freedom.

According to the BBC, 477 Palestinians – 450 men and 27 women – will be pardoned as part of the deal.

Israel’s President Simon Peres said the process has begun and the prisoners will be set free on Tuesday.

A further 550 prisoners will be released once Shalit returns home.

The Israeli soldier was captured in 2006 when he was 19-years-old. His detention has preoccupied many Israelis for the past five years. He has not been seen since a video was released in 2009. The Israeli government decided that this was the best deal that could be made to ensure Shalit’s return home.

Israel published the list of prisoners’ names this morning. It includes Ahlam Tamimi and Amneh Muna, both serving life sentences for crimes committed against Israeli citizens, according to CNN.

Reuters reports that anyone opposed to the release of the prisoners can file a legal appeal within 48 hours. The Almagor Terror Victims’ Association’s appeal will be heard in the Supreme Court tomorrow. The group says the exchange will lead to more violence.

The appeal, and others which have been lodged by victims’ families, is unlikely to affect the decision.

Israeli prison buses have already started moving some of the prisoners from one penal installation in southern Israel to another in preparation for their release.

There are currently about 6,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails. Three key figures – Marwan Barghouti, Abdullah Barghouti and Ahmed Saadat – will not be released under the agreement. The three leaders are serving multiple life sentences for attacks on Israel.

It is unlikely that this deal will lead to any further peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, which have been at a stalemate for the past 13 months.

-Additional reporting by AP

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