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Gaza celebrates release of Palestinian captives

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Gaza celebrates release of Palestinian captives


A hero’s welcome awaited the Palestinian prisoners freed by Israel as they arrived in Rafah to meet friends, family and well-wishers.

Among the crowds was Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh.

In this first phase of the deal between the two sides, 477 Palestinians have been let out of Israeli jails. Another 550 will be released in the coming months.

At a huge gathering in Gaza, a sea of people were in al-Katiba square, waving the green flag of Hamas and rival Palestinian group Fatah’s yellow flag.

Haniyeh, who is also Gazan Prime Minister, has seen his approval grow since the deal with Israel, and he was on stage speaking to the jubilant crowd in the square. “This exchange is teaching everyone a very important lesson,and proving that we are a people united,” he said.

Hamas say more than 200,000 people were out in Gaza, overshadowing the few thousand that turned up outside the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah.

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