Palestinian Authority Releases Seven Members of Hamas
The Palestinian Authority has freed seven more members of the Islamist group Hamas, bringing to 21 the number of militants released in the past few days, a Hamas official said Sunday.
Five of the Hamas members were released by Palestinian police in the Gaza Strip and two others in the West Bank, said Ismael Haniyeh, a Hamas leader in Gaza.
"The release of political prisoners is a step in the right direction, which reinforces our people's unity faced with the challenges with which we are confronted," Haniyeh told AFP.
He said Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority still holds 120 members of Hamas in its jails.
"We are going to pursue action to win freedom for more prisoners, and the Authority has promised to release them," he said.
Hamas is staunchly opposed to any dialogue with Israel and has claimed responsibility for numerous anti-Israeli attacks since Arafat signed the 1993 Oslo accords with the Jewish state.
The release of the 21 Hamas members comes amid violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces, which in the past nine days has cost 91 lives, most of them Palestinian – GAZA CITY (AFP)
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