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Abbas asks for Barghouti’s release

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas asked that Israel include one-time Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti in its release of 250 Palestinian prisoners.Barghouti, who was the head of Fatah in the West Bank at the time of his arrest, is serving five consecutive life sentences in an Israeli prison for murder and attempted murder. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s announcement Monday about his prisoner-release proposal specified that only prisoners without “blood on their hands” would be released.In a speech at the Jewish Agency for Israel’s annual assembly in Jerusalem, opposition leader and Likud Party Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu said releasing the prisoners is the wrong move. “Giving them guns and releasing their prisoners is a big mistake,” he said.Another senior Israeli official, speaking anonymously, suggested that Israel go beyond the prisoner release and halt all arrests of Fatah members in the West Bank, Reuters reported.