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Transfer of freed Palestinian prisoners begins Tuesday

Transfer of freed Palestinian prisoners begins Tuesday

BETHLEHEM -- One of the groups involved in the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit said Thursday that the transfer of some 450 Palestinian prisoners will begin Tuesday.

Spokesman Abu Mujahed of the Popular Resistance Committees said Thursday that as soon as the detainees are released, officials will check each one to make sure they are among those listed in the deal.

Once the prisoners are checked, the factions holding Shalit will release him too.

An official in the PRC's military wing, meanwhile, released a list of prisoners it says Israel agreed to free in exchange for Shalit. The list includes 477 names along with the conditions of each prisoner's release.

Several lists are floating around, including one which appeared on Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV. The ministry of prisoners affairs in the Gaza Strip says none of them are entirely accurate.

Abu Mujahed, the PRC spokesman, said those detainees who are to be exiled from the West Bank will depart Israel via Egypt and enter Gaza. Those who will be exiled abroad will go to Turkey or Qatar via Cairo.

Israel and Hamas agreed Tuesday to swap more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for captive soldier Shalit, resolving one of the most emotive and intractable issues between them.

The deal was overseen by the Egyptian intelligence minister two weeks ago. Israel and Hamas send delegates to Cairo and it was agreed that 450 prisoners would be freed in a first round.

There are at least 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. They are regarded as heroes in their struggle against Israeli occupation and quest for statehood.

Shalit, who also holds French citizenship, was last seen in a videotape released by his captors in September 2009. He has received no visits from the Red Cross, despite many appeals.

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