Palestinian female prisoners resist deportation to Gaza
Two Palestinian female prisoners, Mariam al-Tarabeen and Amna Muna, are resisting deportation to Gaza, briefly delaying the prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas, Al Arabiya TV reported quoting Israeli sources.
Muna was jailed for life in 2003 for luring the 16-year-old Israeli, Ofir Rahum, from the Israeli city of Ashkelon into Ramallah, where was shot dead by Palestinian militants.
Muna had engaged Rahum on the internet, posing as a Jewish girl from Morocco named Sali.
Tarabeen, from the West Bank city of Jericho, has been in jail since 2005 after she was sentenced to eight years. She has been isolated in Neve Tirza prison for six months.
Israeli media say the two prisoners, who reportedly abused inmates, refuse to be deported to Gaza because they are afraid of reprisals by families of other prisoners in Gaza.
Israel is also releasing Ahlam Tamimi, sentenced to 16 life sentences for driving the bomber who attacked a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem in 2001, killing 16 people. Tamimi, a Jordanian national who was 21 when she was arrested, will be sent to her home country.
Shortly after the swap took place, a Hamas official told Al Arabiya that Israel agreed to deport Tamimi and Muna to Jordan instead of Gaza. It was not immediately clear if Tarabeen would also be sent to Jordan or to another country.
Israel is releasing 1,027 Palestinians in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, in a two-stage operation that begins on Tuesday.
Among some of the most prominent Palestinian prisoners being freed in the first stage of the swap are:
Nael Barghuti: From Kobar village near Ramallah, he was arrested in April 1978 and convicted of involvement in the death of an Israeli soldier. He is listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest-serving political prisoner.
Yehia al-Sinwar: A senior Hamas leader who co-founded the movement’s Al-Majd security services in the 1980s, and was serving four life sentences, partly for his role in the 1994 kidnap and death of Israeli soldier Nahshon Wachsman. His brother Mohammed al-Sinwar was reportedly involved in Shalit’s abduction. He will return to his home in Gaza.
Rawhi al-Mushtaha: A senior Hamas leader who co-founded Al-Majd with Sinwar and is considered one of the most important Hamas figures in the prisoner exchange. He received four life sentences and is to be released to his home in Gaza.
Jihad Yaghmur: Another leading Hamas official, convicted of involvement in Wachsman’s kidnap and murder. An east Jerusalem resident, he is to be exiled overseas.
Mohammed al-Sharataha: A member of Hamas’s armed wing and reported partner of Mahmud al-Mabhuh, the Hamas commander assassinated in a Dubai hotel in 2010. Sharataha was convicted of heading a cell that kidnapped and killed two Israeli soldiers in 1989. He received three life sentences and is to be released to his home in Gaza.
Walid Anjas: Sentenced to 36 life sentences for involvement in the 2002 attack on Moment Cafe in Jerusalem, which killed 11 Israelis. He will be exiled overseas.
Nasr Yateyma: Convicted of planning the 2002 Park Hotel bombing which targeted a Passover meal, killing 29 Israelis. He was accused of transferring the explosive belt used in the attack and sentenced to 29 life sentences. He will be exiled abroad.
Chris al-Bandak: A Christian member of the military wing of Fatah, he was sentenced to four life sentences for shooting attacks that killed several Israelis in 2002. He will be exiled to the Gaza Strip.
Abdul Aziz Salha: Convicted of participating in the lynching of two Israeli soldiers who mistakenly drove into Ramallah in October 2000. Salha was infamously photographed displaying his bloody hands to a crowd, and was sentenced to life behind bars. He will be released to Gaza.