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More Than 1,000 Prisoners Released by Israel This Week

In a move called for under the terms of the agreement it signed with the Palestinians in September, Israel freed more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners this week.

On Wednesday, Israel released more than 800 Palestinians from its jails; a day later, more than 200 Palestinians were freed.

Next week, more than 100 more prisoners are expected to be released.

Most of the prisoners have been convicted of committing security offenses against Israel. Among those released Thursday were Palestinians who had been convicted for attacking fellow Arabs suspected of collaborating with Israeli authorities.

Israeli officials said none of those released had been convicted of murdering Israelis.

An earlier wave of prisoner releases took place in the fall, after Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed the Interim Agreement in Washington for extending West Bank autonomy.

This week’s releases came amid accusations from Palestinian officials who said Israel had freed some 100 Palestinians who had entered Israel illegally, instead of releasing security prisoners.

Meanwhile, Israel on Thursday ended the closure it had imposed on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The closure was imposed after last Friday’s killing of Yehiya Ayash, a Hamas terrorist who topped Israel’s most-wanted list for masterminding a series of suicide bombings that killed scores of Israelis.

Despite the lifting of the closure, the West Bank town of Nablus remained off limits to Israelis because a mass demonstration of Hamas followers was planned to take place there.

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