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None of Hamas members among released prisoners: spokesman
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19:28, July 20, 2007

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Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement(Hamas) said on Friday that none of its members were among 255 Palestinians released by Israel earlier in the day.

Spokesman for Hamas Sami Abu Zuhri made the remarks in response to an earlier statement by Fatah that 30 of the freed Palestinians are Hamas members.

"Circulating the rumors that Hamas people were included in the bargain was aiming at covering up Fatah's embarrassment," said Zuhri.

Israel released 255 prisoners out of 256 pledged to free in a gesture of goodwill to bolster Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah movement was defeated and driven out of the Gaza Strip after days of infighting last month.

Among the freed Palestinians, six are women and one is a leader from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

After the release, President Abbas welcomed the move, saying it was the beginning of an action to bring back all prisoners jailed in Israel.

However, a PFLP lawmaker named Khaleda Jarrar accused Israel of "misleading the public opinion by freeing a small number of prisoners while still holding 11,000 more."

She also condemned Israel for forcing the prisoners to sign a pledge to stop any kind of resistance against the Jewish state before the release.

"This is a strongly-condemned Israeli extortion," Jarrar added, noting that Israel can arrest the same number of Palestinians in a one-day incursion in any village or city in the West Bank.

Source: Xinhua

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