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Israel begins moving Palestinians before prisoner swap

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Israel begins moving Palestinians before prisoner swap
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Israel has begun transferring Palestinian prisoners ahead of their planned release in an exchange deal for the captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Fifteen of 27 female inmates were driven away from one prison. Reports say most of the hundreds due to be freed on Tuesday are being grouped together in a southern jail.

Israel and Hamas have published a list of their names. Eventually more than 1,000 Palestinians will go free – to the anger of many Israelis.

In the West Bank the Barghouti family are waiting to welcome two of their relatives jailed in Israel back in the late 1970s. Samira Barghouti’s husband Fakri – the longest serving Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli jail – was held on charges including manslaughter with intent to kill.

“I’ve dreamt about this moment for a long time. Several prisoner swaps did not include my husband. I’ve been waiting for the Shalit deal to be concluded, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second. Finally, thank God this deal included him,” she said.

In both Gaza and the West Bank people are getting ready to welcome back those they see as political prisoners. Their convictions range from masterminding attacks to throwing rocks.

Gilad Shalit has been held by factions linked to Hamas for five years.