Israel to release top West Bank Fatah leader in two weeks:daily
Israel is to free jailed Fatah movement's leader Marwan al-Barghouti in two weeks as a goodwill gesture to west-supported President Mahmoud Abbas, a Saudi Arabian daily reported Monday.
The London-based al-Hayat Daily quoted identical Palestinian sources as saying that Israel is seriously studying the release of al-Barghouti "as a goodwill gesture to President Abbas in two weeks."
The sources added to the Saudi Arabian Daily that outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wanted al-Barghouti to be released before he leaves office and a new government in Israel is formed, Xinhua reported.
The sources also said that Israel wanted to boost President's Abbas power before his Hamas rival by freeing al-Barghouti, adding that al-Barghouti will be released before holding the sixth Fatah movement general assembly.
Al-Barghouti, who is also an elected Fatah lawmaker, was arrested by Israel during the 2002 Israeli Defensive Shield carried out in the West Bank. He was sent to five times life sentence and accused for masterminding attacks on Israel.
Hamas movement took control of the Gaza Strip in summer of 2007 following weeks of violent armed confrontations with Fatah movement. The Islamic movement routed Abbas security forces and still rules the enclave.
Egypt, meanwhile, is mediating reconciliation's talks between the two rivals. Sessions of dialogue are scheduled to be held in Cairo on Feb. 25 to 26. Fatah movement said it will free dozens of Hamas prisoners from West Bank prisons.
Azzam el-Ahmed, head of the parliamentary Fatah block told reporters that he hopes the dialogue in Cairo would end the status of feud between the two rivals and reunite the West Bank and Gaza Strip again.