The Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip freed 17 members of the rival Fatah movement in what it called a goodwill gesture ahead of Palestinian reconciliation talks in Egypt. According to reports on Thursday, the men were released from Saraya, the main prison in the coastal territory.
Ismail Haniya, the Hamas prime minister in Gaza, said the move aimed at preparing the ground for dialogue between Hamas and Fatah. The two movements have been invited to meet in Cairo on November 9 to discuss an Egyptian plan which aims to restore Palestinian unity.
Haniya urged the Palestinian Authority to respond to the prisoner release by freeing dozens of Hamas members held in the West Bank.