Doha: Fifteen Palestinian prisoners released
as part of a swap deal that saw Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit
freed from five years of Hamas captivity arrived in the Qatari
capital on Wednesday, an official said.
The freed prisoners landed in Doha on a specially
chartered Qatari airplane at 3.00 am (0530 IST) and were
greeted by deputy prime minister Ahmad Abdullah Mahmoud, the
Palestinian diplomatic official said.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the
15 Palestinians were taken to a hotel and were expected to
undergo medical check-ups today.
Yesterday Israel began releasing 1,027 Palestinians in
two stages in exchange for the handover of Shalit, who was
snatched by Hamas militants in June 2006.
Among them were hundreds who were serving life sentences
after being convicted of involvement in deadly attacks, in
what is the highest price ever paid by the Jewish state for
the release of one man.
The 15 Palestinians who arrived in Doha were among the
first batch of 477 detainees freed. Most were sent to the
occupied West Bank or to Gaza but around 40 were deemed too
dangerous to remain on Israel`s doorstep.
Qatar had said it was ready to host some of the 40, along
with Turkey and Egypt.
Shalit was reunited with his family in Israel.