Families Welcome Released Palestinian Prisoners

Relatives and loved ones of Palestinian prisoners were eagerly awaiting their release on Sunday after the announcement of a prisoner swap with Israel on October 10. Israel commenced the shuffling of prisoners between jails sooner than the scheduled release on Tuesday. The actual list of prisoners to be exchanged with Seargent Gilad Schalit, who has been held captive by Hamas affiliates for 5 years, was announced on Sunday. The first batch include 450 men and 27 women. In West Bank, the Barghouti family welcomes the return of two members of their family, Fakri and Nael. Fakri is the oldest Palestinian prisoner to serve time in Israeli prison, since his arrest in 1978. Meanwhile, his cousin Nael was detained 6 months later. Both men are convicted of manslaughter, and other. Fakri's wife, Samira, has been hoping for decades for this day to arrive. "My husband has been in jail for 34 years and I dreamed about this moment for a long time. There were several prisoner swaps that did not include him. I was waiting for the deal of (Gilad) Schalit to be concluded, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second. Finally, thank God this deal included my husband. I salute the resistance and everybody who contributed to the deal," she said. This case has been a sensitive issue amongst Palestinians, as they see their detained family members as political prisoners, who have served sentences for a myriad of charges. However, Israeli families whose relatives were killed in the Palestinian attacks have appealed in court against releasing Shalit. It is not probable, though, that such decision would affect the prisoner swap. 550 more prisoners are to be released in 2 months' time. Some would return to their hometowns, while others face deportation. Speaker: Samira Barghouti - wife of oldest prisoner By: Noora Faraj Al Arabiya with Agencies

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