Accessibility links

Breaking News

Israel Releases 26 Palestinian Prisoners

Palestinians have been celebrating after Israel released 26 Palestinian prisoners that had been serving long terms in Israeli prisons for crimes including murder and terrorism.

Israel released the prisoners early December 31 as part of moves to give momentum to U.S.-backed peace talks.

It was the third of four planned Israeli releases of 104 Palestinian prisoners, following releases in August and October.

Palestinian National Authority President Mahmud Abbas greeted some of the newly released prisoners in the West Bank and vowed he would not sign a peace agreement with Israel until all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are released.

Relatives of some Israelis killed in Palestinian attacks have opposed the release.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled visit the region this week for another round of talks with the two sides. Kerry is pressuring the Israelis and Palestinians to agree on an interim framework peace deal by the end of April.

Based on reports from AP and dpa