Thousands of Palestinians celebrated the release Sunday night of 550 inmates from Israeli prisons, part of the second phase of the deal that won the freedom of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
The revelry in the Mukataa compound in Ramallah - the long-timehome to the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat - ran late into the night. Tayeb Abdel Rahim, general-secretary in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' office, was among those officials greeting the line of freed prisoners, as they all paid their respects at Arafat's grave.
Hamas' armed wing, the Izzedine al Qassam Brigades, welcomed the news even as they, like Rahim and other Palestinian leaders, continued to push for the release of others in Israeli custody.
"It's a great accomplishment, but it's not the end," brigade spokesman Abu Obieda said Sunday night. "We will work toward liberating all our prisoners."
The Israel Defense Forces said in a news release Sunday night that the International Red Cross assisted in the release process, which it noted at 10:30 p.m. had been "completed."FULL STORY