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Israel frees Palestinian prisoners to boost Abbas

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Israel frees Palestinian prisoners to boost Abbas

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In the wake of last week’s Middle East peace conference, Israel has freed more than 420 Palestinian prisoners.

The move is aimed at strengthening Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Most of those released belong to his secular Fatah movement.

Nearly all the freed prisoners were bussed from their desert jail to a crossing near the West Bank city of Ramallah, where a formal homecoming ceremony was being held.

However a handful were driven towards Gaza which was seized by Hamas Islamists in June. The group has rejected peace moves with Israel.

None of those released have been convicted of killing Israelis. They are among nearly 11,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.