TEL AVIV (Sep. 14)
Israeli officials have released from detention 57 of the 181 Palestinian deportees they had allowed last week to return from southern Lebanon.
The release of the men, all alleged members of Islamic extremist groups, followed Monday’s historic signing in Washington of an accord on Palestinian self-rule in the territories.
The Palestinians who were released had been prisoners when they were ordered deported to southern Lebanon last December, following several terrorist attacks within Israel.
They had been returned to detention centers for further questioning and, in some cases, to await pending trials.
The 207 deportees remaining in southern Lebanon are scheduled to return in December.
The deportees, who were suspected members of the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements, have been living in a tent camp at Marj al-Zahour, Lebanon, some two miles north of Israel’s border security zone.
In all, Israel deported 415 Palestinians to Lebanon last year, following a series of murderous attacks by Muslim extremists within Israel.
Some of those men were freed early when they fell ill or after it was determined that they had been mistakenly identified as members of militant fundamentalist groups.