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Hamas official: Qatar, Turkey and Syria to host prisoners

Arab World Materials 17 October 2011 14:58
Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouq said Monday that Qatar, Turkey and Syria are willing to host Palestinian detainees
Hamas official: Qatar, Turkey and Syria to host prisoners

Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouq said Monday that Qatar, Turkey and Syria are willing to host Palestinian detainees set to be released under the terms of the recent exchange deal between Hamas and Israel Maan reported


Marzouq, deputy head of the Hamas politburo, told the London based Pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat that Qatar and Turkey had agreed to host exiled prisoners. Al Hayat mentioned that Syria could also be among the countries willing to receive released detainees.

Turkish media said on Friday that Turkey would accept all those exiled abroad.

A Hamas delegation headed by Khaled Mashaal will arrive in Cairo later on Monday to welcome released prisoners, Marzouq said.

The first stage of the prisoner swap is set to take place in the Egyptian Sinai. Israel on Sunday transferred some 430 Palestinian prisoners to a holding facility in the Negev desert in preparation for the exchange on Tuesday.

Abu Marzoug praised Egypt's role in mediating negotiations for the prisoner deal, which will see 1,027 Palestinian detainees exchanged for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Several countries offered to facilitate the exchange, Marzouq said, but the final mediators had to be agreed on between Israel and the Palestinians.

Marzouq also apologized for any misunderstanding over the number of female detainees to be released. Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal had described a list of 27 women due to be released as all female prisoners held by Israel.

Marzouq confirmed, however, that 9 female prisoners are not part of the prisoner deal.

While some of the 477 prisoners due to be released this week will go home to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, almost half will be exiled, without stopping on Palestinian soil.

Some 200 detainees are slated for exile, with 40 detainees being deported to third countries and 163 to Gaza.

According to latest figures provided by the Palestinian Authority, there are around 6,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails. The majority remaining in prison have vowed to continue a hunger strike that entered its 20th day on Sunday, in protest against worsening conditions in Israeli prisons.

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