Palestinian leader meets ex-Palestinian prisoners

AFP , Wednesday 21 Dec 2011

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas meets with 11 former prisoners now residing in Turkey after the prisoner swap deal that started in October and concluded last Sunday

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas met with 11 ex-Palestinian prisoners at his hotel in Ankara before winding up a three-day trip to Turkey, state-run Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) said Wednesday.

Abbas's meeting with the prisoners who were taken to Turkey after being released as part of a swap deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority was behind closed doors and only reported by the state television.

The 11 Palestinians had been granted residence permits by the Turkish interior ministry, it added.

In October, Israel began releasing 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in two stages in exchange for the handover of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was snatched by Hamas militants in June 2006.

Last Sunday, Israel freed 550 Palestinian prisoners, completing the second phase of the deal.

After the swap was agreed Turkey said it was ready to host some of the released Palestinian detainees along with Qatar and Egypt.

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