WRAP Israel release 224 Palestinian prisoners, reunions, celebrations

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Israel’s Ofer prison camp, West Bank
1. Wide of entrance to prison with buses carrying prisoners out
2. Prisoners on bus, peering through grated window
3. Close up on grated window with prisoner peering through
4. Buses leaving prison
Beitunia, West Bank
5. Wide of buses arriving at checkpoint
6. Pull out of bus with prisoners
7. Prisoner showing victory sign
8. Wide of buses with Israeli security officers
9. Wide of bus at crossing
10. Prisoners hang out of bus window, waving Palestinian flags
11. Wide of buses with prisoners driving away
12. Bus leaving with security forces standing
13. Bus arriving to Palestinian side, prisoners hanging out of windows, fellow Palestinians welcoming them with flags and cheers
14. Bus driving away, carrying prisoners and people who climbed on top of bus
15. Mid of prisoners waving out windows of buses
16. Wide of bus driving away with people on roof
17. Palestinians on roof of their vehicles waving flags
Shikma prison, Israel
18. Wide of check point at Shikma prison, where some of the prisoners were held
19. Wide of vehicle at Shikma prison
20. Vehicle leaving prison
21. Various of vehicles arriving to Erez crossing on Israeli side
Erez crossing, between Israel and the Gaza strip
22. Wide of Palestinians dancing
23. Wide of Palestinians running toward crossing
24. Palestinian prisoner hugging family
25. Palestinians carrying released prisoner on their shoulders
26. Wide of Palestinians carrying prisoner on shoulders
27. Woman entering taxi and hugging loved one
28. SOUNDBITE: (English) Mark Regev, Israeli prime minister’s spokesman:
“Today’s prisoner release which is timed to match the holiday season is designed to strengthen the peace process, to strengthen the negotiations, to strengthen the process of historic reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, since last year we’ve released some one thousand Palestinian prisoners and the idea is of course to create greater confidence between Israelis and Palestinians which will help the process of peace and dialogue between the two peoples.”
Erez crossing, Gaza Strip
29. Wide of traffic with Palestinians rejoicing in street
Israel released 224 Palestinian prisoners on Monday in a gesture to moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and jubilant detainees waving Palestinian flags jumped on the roof of one of the buses carrying them to freedom.
Most of the buses drove from Israel’s Ofer prison camp in the West Bank to a nearby military checkpoint where hundreds of Palestinians waited for a first glimpse of the detainees, who were affiliated with Abbas’ Fatah movement.
At midday local time (1000 GMT), the first two buses crossed the checkpoint.
Triumphant music was played loudly as the buses came into sight.
Many of the ex-detainees waved flags of Abbas’ Fatah movement and draped the iconic Palestinian black-and-white chequered scarf , the khouffiyeh, around their necks.
From the checkpoint, the buses were to head to Abbas’ headquarters in the nearby town of Ramallah for a welcome ceremony.
Eighteen of the prisoners were to be released to the Gaza Strip from Shikma prison.
Initially, Israel was to free 227 Palestinians.
However, Israeli Prison Service spokesman said only 224 were freed, and the release of three others was still under review.
An Israeli group had unsuccessfully tried to block the release in Israel’s Supreme Court, saying freeing prisoners would harm Israel’s security.
The release already had been delayed from its original date last week during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.
Israel says Palestinian officials asked for a postponement because Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was in Mecca and wanted to personally greet the freed prisoners.

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