Israel releases 25 Palestinians as peace talks resume

Gaza (Photo: Marius Arnesen)

Gaza (Photo: Marius Arnesen)

Twenty-six Palestinian prisoners were released by Israel late last night as part of the build-up to peace negotiations.

More than 1000 people gathered at the presidential compound in Ramallah to welcome the prisoners.

According to sources, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spoke to the crowd at 1.30am. He said: “We say to the families of the prisoners still in jail, we will not rest until all the others are among us.”

Over the coming months, 104 Palestinian prisoners will be released as part of a peace-talks deal brokered by the United State .

Talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders will resume today. Israel’s Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molcho will lead the Israeli delegation, while Saeb Erekat and Muhammad Shtayyeh will represent the Palestinian leadership.

Meanwhile, Israeli sources have reported that two rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel on Tuesday. The first rocket, aimed at the Israeli town of Sderot, landed inside Gaza borders and the second fell in the nearby Sha’ar Hanegev region.

The Israeli Defence Forces launched an airstrike on Wednesday morning aiming to destroy rocket launchers in Gaza.

An IDF spokesman said: “The IDF air strikes were conducted in response to the rocket launched at the civilians living in the Sha’ar HaNegev regional council yesterday evening.

“This is an absurd situation that would not be tolerated anywhere else in the world. The IDF is charged with, and will continue to operate in order to safeguard Israel’s civilians, and combat terror and its infrastructure the in the Gaza Strip.”

Last updated: 10:45am, August 14 2013