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Palestinian cars set ablaze after prisoner release

AFP , Tuesday 31 Dec 2013
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Views: 803

Suspected Jewish extremists overnight torched three cars belonging to Arabs in the West Bank town of Jalzoun, police said Tuesday, apparently in protest at Israel's release of 26 Palestinian prisoners.

The vandals also spray-painted "blood will flow in Judea and Samaria" -- the West Bank -- and "this is war" on the wall of a house nearby, just hours after Israel freed the inmates, Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP.

Samri said the attack in Jalzoun, north of Ramallah, was an apparent "price tag" incident -- a euphemism for hate crimes by Jewish extremists which often involve vandalism and in some cases physical injury.

Another graffitied message read "Hello, John Kerry," addressing the US Secretary of State, who returns to the region this week to boost the faltering negotiations that he kick-started in late July.

Israel freed the 26 Palestinian prisoners under the US-brokered peace talks in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The prisoners were the third batch of 104 detainees that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to let go in four stages when the peace talks were revived in July.

The release shortly after 0000 GMT came after an Israeli court rejected a last-minute appeal by victims' families.

The freed prisoners are hailed by Palestinians as heroes imprisoned for fighting against the Israeli occupation.

Emotions were also high on the Israeli side, where the jailed militants are viewed as murderers. Some 150 protesters marched on Monday night from the premier's residence in Jerusalem, bearing pictures of their bereaved relatives and posters with slogans against the releases.

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