113 Detainees Released from Atlit

The Israel Defense Force today released another 113 detainees — mostly Lebanese Shiites — who had been held at the Atlit military detention camp. Some 120 detainees are still left in the camp, and security sources said they would probably be released shortly.

The prisoners released today and those still in the camp were among the more than 700 whose release was demanded in June by the Shiite hijackers of a TWA jet. These were the last of about 1,200 who were transferred to the Atlit camp last April after Israel dismantled its Ansar prison camp in south Lebanon when the IDF withdrew. Between April and today, detainees in Atlit were released in a series of stages.

Those set free this morning, like the previous groups, were taken in buses through the Rosh Hanikra frontier post to Ras Bayda on the Mediterranean coast at the northern edge of the security zone. There, they were handed over to the International Red Cross, which registered them and then saw to their transport to their homes in Lebanon.

The Shiites who hijacked the TWA jet held 39 Americans hostage for two weeks to back demands for the release of the Atlit detainees. Israel freed 300 detainees two days after the release of the hostages on June 20, 100 more on July 24, and another 101 on August 13. Both Israel and Washington affirmed that this was not part of a deal with the Shiites.

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