Ma'an News Agency
October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouq said on Monday that three countries are willing to host Palestinian detainees set to be released under a recent exchange deal between Hamas and Israel.

Marzouq, deputy head of the Hamas politburo, told the London based pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat that Qatar and Turkey had agreed to host exiled prisoners. Al-Hayat mentioned that Syria could also be among the countries willing to receive released detainees.

Turkish media said Friday that Turkey would accept all those exiled abroad.

A Hamas delegation headed by Khaled Mashaal will arrive in Cairo later on Monday to welcome released prisoners, Marzouq said.

The first stage of the prisoner swap is set to take place in the Egyptian Sinai, with Israel transferring some 430 Palestinian prisoners to a holding facility in the Negev desert on Sunday in preparation for the exchange on Tuesday.

Abu Marzouq praised Egypt's role in mediating negotiations for the prisoner deal to exchange 1,027 Palestinian detainees for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Several countries offered to facilitate the swap, Marzouq said, but the final mediators had to be agreed on between Israel and Hamas.

The Hamas official also apologized for any misunderstanding over the number of female detainees to be released. Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal had described the list of 27 women due to be released as all female prisoners held by Israel.

Marzouq confirmed, however, that 9 female prisoners are not part of the prisoner deal.

While some of the 477 prisoners due to be released this week will go home to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, almost half will be exiled.

Some 40 detainees will be deported to third countries and 163 to Gaza.

According to the latest figures provided by the Palestinian Authority, there are around 6,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails. The majority remaining in prison have vowed to continue a hunger strike launched on Sept. 27, in protest against worsening conditions in Israeli prisons.


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