Israel on Sunday released a list of 477 Palestinian prisoners to be released next week as part of the deal to secure Gilad Shalit’s freedom, many of whom were involved in bloody militant attacks.
Hundreds of them are serving life terms after being convicted of involvement in attacks, including the 2001 bombing of a Tel Aviv nightclub that killed 21 people and an attack on a Netanya hotel where 29 people died a year later.
Details of the prisoners’ identities were made public just 48 hours before the exchange was expected to take place, although the specific details of the handover were still being worked out, officials said.
Under the agreement signed last Tuesday, Israel is to free a total of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of the 25-year-old soldier, who has been in captivity in Gaza for more than five years.If the deal goes through, it will be the largest number of Palestinian prisoners ever freed by the Jewish state to secure the release of just one person.It will also be the first time in 26 years that a captured soldier has been returned to Israel alive.
The list of 450 Palestinian men and 27 women was released early Sunday on the website of the Israeli Prisons Service. The remaining 550 prisoners are to be freed within two months. Hamas also published an identical list on its official website. As soon as the list was published, Israel’s main radio and television stations began running details of deadly attacks in which the prisoners were involved.