Suicide Bomber Reportedly Was Part of Prisoner Release

One of the terrorists involved in Sunday’s suicide attack at Beit Lid Junction had been freed from an Israeli prison as part of a prisoner-release arrangement with the Palestinian Authority, Israel Radio reported.

The report prompted Likud Knesset member Tzachi Hanegbi to submit a bill to the Knesset that would prevent Israeli authorities from releasing Palestinian prisoners who had committed murder. Hanegbi also called for the dismantling of the recently appointed ministerial committee that oversees prisoner releases.

Justice Minister David Libai, who responded for the government during the Knesset debate, said the committee had suspended its activities since Sunday’s attack.

He also said that criteria governing future releases of Palestinian prisoners had not yet been established and that guidelines should be determined by the government and the president without legislative constraints.

The Knesset rejected Hanegbi’s bill on Wednesday.

In a related development, the army is investigating whether a Palestinian convicted of murdering an Israeli soldier was mistakenly freed from jail several months ago.

Mahmoud Barjoun, a member of Al Fatah who was found guilty of murdering Israeli soldier Yoram Cohen in September 1991, was freed last summer as part of a prisoner-release arrangement, Israel Radio reported.

He was subsequently transferred to the autonomous Jericho enclave in the West Bank.

The error was discovered when the military prosecutor called on Barjoun to testify at the trial of another terrorist.

According to Palestinian sources, Barjoun recently moved to Jordan.

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