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Israel Set To Free 550 Prisoners in Shalit Swap

Israel was scheduled to release 550 prisoners Sunday, in the second stage of an exchange with Hamas in Gaza.

In the first stage in mid-October, Israel released 477 Palestinian militants, many serving multiple life sentences, in return for Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held hostage by the Islamist movement ruling Gaza for more than five years.

The prisoners scheduled to go free Sunday are considered less hardcore and include no one serving a life term. Most are members of the armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement.

The vast majority are to go to the West Bank and had been already taken to an Israeli military base near Ramallah, on the central West Bank, from where they were scheduled to cross over into Palestinian autonomous territory in the evening.

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