Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Israel to release 550 prisoners

Relatives of Palestinian prisoner Younis Jahjouh decorate the street ahead of his release by Israel (AP)

Israel is set to release 550 Palestinian prisoners in the second and final phase of a swap that brought home an Israeli soldier after five years in captivity.

Israel has agreed to exchange a total of 1,027 prisoners for Sargent Gilad Schalit, who was captured by Gaza militants in June 2006.

Sargent Schalit returned home in October when Israel freed the first batch of 477 prisoners. Sunday's release will complete the deal with the Hamas militant group.

In October's release, Israel agreed to free dozens of Palestinians involved in deadly attacks.

Under the Egyptian-brokered agreement, Israel chooses the prisoners in the second group, meaning that most are serving light sentences or near the end of their terms.

Prison officials said the release will take place on Sunday evening.

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