Hamas Armed Wing: Egypt to Finalize Swap

The armed wing of Hamas on Wednesday announced the second phase of a prisoner swap with Israel would be implemented with Egyptian oversight.

The Al-Qassam Brigades will not be involved in negotiations over the list of prisoners, but it expects Egypt will ensure that its interests are carried out, a spokesman said.

Abu Ubeida said the list of prisoners to be released would not include people who were arrested on non-security charges, and they should not have sentences which are approaching completion.

In addition, priority will be given to the elderly and sick as well as anyone who spent more than 20 years behind bars, he said. He said Egypt has pledged as mediator to ensure the implementation of the second phase based on the criteria stipulated in the original agreement with Israel.

Egypt will ensure Hamas’ conditions are implemented, he said.

On Tuesday, Israel freed 477 prisoners in a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas to secure the release for an Israeli soldier held in Gaza since 2006. A further 550 prisoners will be freed in the second phase.

Under the terms of Tuesday’s swap, detainees returned to the West Bank will have to check in with the Israeli civil administration from time to time, an Israeli daily reported Wednesday.

Yedioth Ahronoth said all the prisoners would have to confirm their presence at one of the posts near their cities, while others will have to check in three times per month under threat of re-arrest.

Each prisoner has been told how many times he or she must check in, according to the report. They have been told that if they do not show up at the prescribed times, they will be taken into custody again.

The terms apply to all 96 prisoners freed to the West Bank, Yedioth reported.

(Ma’an News)

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