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Israel to free 227 Palestinian prisoners on Monday
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09:33, December 15, 2008

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Israel is set to release 227 Palestinian prisoners on Monday in another bid to bolster Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israel Prison Service said Sunday.

Following a five-day postponement, the goodwill move, which was also intended to mark the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, or the Festival of Sacrifice, will be carried out in parallel at a checkpoint in the West Bank and a border crossing with the Gaza Strip, said the body in a statement.

The latest number of those to be released is 23 less than the figure Israeli cabinet originally approved, as Israel's ministerial committee overseeing the release of Palestinian prisoners last week removed some 20 names from the list following objections by several ministers.

The over 200 prisoners are all affiliated to Abbas' Fatah movement and "without blood on their hands," according to the ministerial committee. Abbas is expected to greet those freed to the West Bank in the city of Ramallah as in previous such occasions.

In August, Israel released 198 Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture to Abbas.

According to official figures, Israel holds some 11,000 Palestinian prisoners in its jails, most of whom were arrested during the second Intifada, or uprising, which erupted against Israel in the Palestinian territories in 2000.

Source: Xinhua

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