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Israel Frees 26 Palestinian Prisoners

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Israel frees prisonersIsrael has freed a group of 26 Palestinian prisoners, whose release was agreed as part of the deal that allowed peace talks to resume. The prisoners, most of whom carried out attacks more than 20 years ago, were driven out of a jail in white minibuses with tinted windows.

About half are being taken straight to Gaza, and half to the West Bank. Palestinian and Israeli negotiators began direct talks two weeks ago for the first time in three years.

Another round of talks is due to begin in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Israel agreed to release the 26 long-term prisoners as the first of 104 Palestinian and Israeli Arab inmates to be freed over the next few months.
Failed legal moves

The men were driven away from the Ayalon prison complex late at night in vehicles with darkened windows to avoid any display of triumphalism.

Small groups of Israeli protesters had gathered outside the prison and jeered as the buses drove off.

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