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18 Shalit deal prisoners to return to West Bank

Oct. 17, 2012 7:28 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 17, 2012 10:28 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Eighteen deportees sent to the Gaza Strip as part of the Shalit deal in 2011 will be allowed to enter the West Bank on Thursday, the Palestinian Authority said.

The Palestinian minister of prisoners affairs, Issa Qaraqe, said the Egyptian side was coordinating with Israel to ensure that the prisoners would not remain exiled from their homes for more than one year after the deal.

He said Israeli authorities "might procrastinate" in implementing the deal, and he called on Egyptian authorities to ask the Israelis to abide by its obligations in the agreement with Hamas.

The prisoners have been identified as:

-- Abed al-Shalabi

-- Mohammad Takatqa

-- Mahmoud Sireya

-- Mohammad Balout

-- Bilal Zaraa

-- Huthayfa Ghanem

-- Hamzeh Zayed

-- Atyieh Abu Asab

-- Imad al-Masri

-- Talal al-Kabash

-- Loai al-Kronz

-- Abed Ali

-- Bassem Nazzal

-- Mahmud Hanani

-- Rateb al-Ajrab

-- Mohammad Masalmeh

-- Nedal Hamed

-- Mansour Rayyan

Israeli media reported that government officials confirmed the details while a Palestinian source told Israel's Ynet news site that some Palestinian officials feared Israel would arrest the returnees.

Ynet said that the 18 were allowed to return after one year under the terms of the deal, which sent 163 prisoners to the Gaza Strip and 40 more to other countries in the region.
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