Abbas agrees to conditional release of 400 Hamas members
The Palestinian party of Fatah has proposed the release of 400 Hamas prisoners, provided Hamas allows Fatah members in Gaza the freedom to travel to its general assembly in the Bethlehem later this week.
Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that if Hamas allowed Fatah members to leave the Strip for Tuesday’s congress, Fatah would permit the release of the Hamas prisoners. He added the first half would be released before the assembly and the second half would be released after.
Hamas, which currently rules Gaza, said it would let the Fatah members out of Gaza only if Fatah release 1,000 of its members beforehand.
Hamas has also warned that it would arrest any Fatah members who attempt to leave Gaza for the West Bank summit. Hamas presently has given only 70 Fatah members permission to leave Gaza for the summit. More than 400, however, are restricted from attending.