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Gaza families visit relatives in Israeli prison

Sept. 21, 2015 12:48 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 21, 2015 2:59 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Nearly 80 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip on Monday crossed into Israel to visit family members in Israel's Ramon prison, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

An ICRC spokesperson said that 77 Palestinians, including 19 children, left Gaza through the Erez crossing near Beit Hanoun to visit 47 Palestinian prisoners.

The ICRC "Family Visits Program" for Gazans was suspended by Israeli authorities in June 2007 when Hamas won Palestinian elections. All communication between Gazan prisoners and the outside world was effectively cut off, according to prisoners' rights group Addameer.

During a Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike in April 2012, one of the prisoners' key demands was that the program be reinstated.

Israel agreed to resume the visits on the conclusion of the hunger strike, although Addameer has reported that many Gaza prisoners in Israel have not been allowed to receive visitors.

Around 350 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are currently jailed in Israel.
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