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Palestinian prisoners to be freed

A senior Israeli official has said some Palestinian prisoners will be released as part of the breakthrough by US secretary of state John Kerry in efforts to restart Middle East talks.

Israel's intelligence and strategic affairs minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio that some "hard core prisoners" will be released. This has been a long-standing Palestinian demand.

Mr Steinitz said the talks will restart without other Palestinian demands such as a settlement freeze or defining 1967 lines as borders ahead of negotiations.

It was the first Israeli comment since Mr Kerry announced on Friday night that the two sides will meet soon in Washington to formalise an agreement on relaunching peace talks that collapsed in 2008.

Mr Kerry said Israel and Palestinian negotiators should be going to Washington soon to hold initial talks.

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