Israel to free more Palestinians

Israel will free more Palestinian prisoners this month, Ehud Olmert told Mahmoud Abbas.

After the two leaders held routine talks Wednesday in Jerusalem about progress in the peace process, a spokesman said the Israeli prime minister had pledged to order the release of an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners by month’s end.

Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, has long called for a sweeping amnesty that could bolster his standing against rival Hamas Islamists.

Israel has freed several hundred prisoners since Olmert and Abbas revived peace talks under U.S. auspices last November.

An estimated 11,000 Palestinians are in Israeli jails, among them convicted terrorists and suspects held without charges.

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