Palestinian inmates begin leaving Israeli jails

Updated: 2011-10-18 09:37


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Palestinian inmates begin leaving Israeli jails

Ibraheem, the husband of Palestinian prisoner Ibtisam Issawi, kisses his niece outside his home in the Arab East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Jabal Mukaber October 17, 2011, as the family prepares for the release of his wife in a prisoner swap that is expected to take place on Tuesday. [Photo/Agencies]

JERUSALEM - Vehicles carrying Palestinian prisoners began departing from jails in Israel on Tuesday, a Reuters witness said, setting in motion a phased prisoner exchange that is meant to secure the release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

In the deal reached between Israel and the Gaza Strip's Islamist rulers Hamas, Shalit will be freed after five years of captivity in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. Its implementation is expected to take several hours.

The first vehicles that left a jail in central Israel were carrying female prisoners, most to be freed in the West Bank. They were accompanied by security personnel from Egypt, who mediated the swap deal, an official said.