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Israel to free 550 Palestinian prisoners - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Israel has prepared to release 550 Palestinian prisoners in the second and final phase of a swap with the Hamas organization that brought home an Israeli soldier after five years in captivity.

Sunday's release will complete an Egyptian-brokered deal to exchange a total of 1,027 prisoners for Gilad Schalit, who was captured by Gaza fighters in June 2006. Schalit returned home in October when Israel freed the first batch of 477 prisoners.

The October 18 return of Schalit, who appeared pale and thin but otherwise healthy, was the first public sighting of him since his capture, and the plight of the young man had captured Israel's attention for years.

The prisoners that Israel freed in the first round included dozens of militants serving life sentences for involvement in deadly attacks. Their releases set off ecstatic celebration in the Palestinian territories, particularly Hamas' Gaza stronghold.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 12:23:03 PM EST
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