Israel Releases Prisoners in Goodwill Move for Ramadan

Israel has released 23 Palestinian prisoners as part of a goodwill gesture for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Among the prisoners released Tuesday was a Palestinian woman held without charge since October who had become a symbol of resistance to many Palestinians.

Itaf Alayan, a 35-year-old activist with the militant Islamic Jihad movement, had staged a 40-day hunger strike that ended last month when she reportedly received assurances from Israeli officials that her case would be reviewed.

She had been held in administrative detention under military laws that enable Israeli officials to hold people considered security risks indefinitely without charging them or bringing them to trial.

Alayan, who returned to her home in Bethlehem on Tuesday, was sentenced in 1987 to 14 years in prison for trying to blow up the office of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.

She was released early in February 1997, along with 30 other female Palestinian prisoners, as part of the Israeli-Palestinian peace accords.

She was re-arrested in October while on her way to a memorial for a slain leader of Islamic Jihad.

Her husband, Hafez Kunduz, also a member of the militant group, is serving a life sentence in an Israeli jail.

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