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Gaza official: 6 women, 55 children set for release

Dec. 15, 2011 5:55 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 17, 2011 11:53 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Six women and 55 children are among the detainees due to be released in days in a prisoner exchange deal with Israel, a Gaza prisoners' official said on Thursday.

Riyad al-Ashqar, media director in Gaza's Ministry of Prisoners, said of the 550 expected to be freed this week, 506 are from the West Bank, 40 are from Gaza, and two are from Jerusalem.

Two Jordanian nationals, Saleh Aref and Wael Hurani, will also be freed, he said.

The six women to be released is just a portion of the 11 females detainees currently imprisoned by Israel, al-Ashqar said. Fifty-five under-18s are due for release, out of 164 Palestinian children in Israeli jails, according to recent figures from the UN agency UNICEF.

Israel released 477 prisoners on Oct. 18 -- including 27 women -- and agreed to free an additional 550 detainees within two months in a captive exchange deal with Hamas to secure the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Wednesday that the remaining prisoners would be freed on Sunday if the Supreme Court rejected any petitions against the release.

A partial list of those slated for release was published by the Palestinian Prisoners society on Wednesday.

Al-Ashqar said 113 of the to-be released prisoners were detained in 2011 and 109 in 2010, and the longest sentence amongst the group is 18 years.

The detainees official said 4,500 Palestinians remain imprisoned by Israel and called on Palestinian factions to intensify their efforts for the release of all detainees.
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