Region | Palestine

Heroes' welcome for freed Palestinians

The Palestinian president and hundreds of people, many waving Palestinian flags, welcome freed Palestinian prisoners they now call "heroes of freedom" as they arrive in Ramallah.

  • Agencies
  • Published: 09:11 July 20, 2007
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Reuters
  • Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the freed Palestinians "heroes of freedom".
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Ramallah: Hundreds of people, many waving Palestinian flags, welcomed freed Palestinian prisoners as they arrived in Ramallah on the West Bank on Friday.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the freed Palestinians "heroes of freedom".

"I thank God that we are honoured by the return of heroes of freedom to their home and the bosom of their homeland," Abbas said.

Israel released more than 250 Palestinian prisoners on Friday as part of a deal to bolster Abbas. Most of those freed were members of Abbas's Fatah group. There were reportedly no Hamas prisoners freed.

"This release breaks the ice between us and the Israelis on the issue of prisoners," said Ziad Abu Ein, Palestinian deputy minister of prison affairs.

In exchange for their freedom, the prisoners have agreed to stop launching attacks against Israel, whose government has also agreed to stop hunting Palestinian militants.

None of the prisoners have "blood on their hands", said Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Palestinian officials said they hoped Israel would release more prisoners soon.

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