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Israel approves release of Palestinian prisoners

  • Story Highlights
  • Israel approves release of 250 Palestinian prisoners, official says
  • A committee will now work to draw up a list of prisoner names
  • None will have "blood on their hands," Israeli PM Ehud Olmert says
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israel's cabinet on Sunday approved the release of 250 Palestinian prisoners to boost ties between the Jewish state and Fatah party leader and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, an Israeli official told CNN.

A committee will now work to draw up a list of prisoner names, which will then be posted on a government Web site to allow 48 hours for the releases to be challenged in petitions to the high court, the official said.

None of those prisoners have "blood on their hands," Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at the start of his weekly cabinet meeting.

The prisoner release was promised by Olmert to Abbas in late June during a Mideast summit in Egypt.

Three days after that meeting, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told CNN the new Palestinian government is seeking "intensive and active cooperation" from Israel to ensure that the chaos that recently gripped Gaza does not re-emerge in the West Bank.

That military action basically split the former Fatah-Hamas unity government in half, with Hamas in control of Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About Ehud OlmertMahmoud Abbas

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