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Israel to release more prisoners to encourage peace talks

July 27, 2013 at 6:57 PM

JERUSALEM, July 27 (UPI) -- Israel has upped the number of prisoners to be released to keep the Palestinians on side for peace talks to start soon in Washington, Israel Radio reports.

The broadcaster, citing sources, said the government planned to announce Sunday it will release 104 prisoners, up from the 82 originally announced, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Ami Palmor, head of the pardons department in the Justice Ministry said last week the prisoners to be released were all from Gaza or the West Bank, and were convicted and sentenced before the signing of the Oslo Accords. Israel Radio said those added to the list include Israeli Muslims.

The government's good-will gesture came after the Palestinian Authority threatened to stay away from talks in Washington next week.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters Saturday in Ramallah to expect good news out of Jerusalem, China's Xinhua News Agency said.

"You should follow the Israeli media tomorrow, because there will be happy announcements with regard to the prisoners," Abbas said.

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