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February 13, 2005

Israel OKs Exile Deal as Abbas Cements Truce

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives

Israel yesterday agreed to allow dozens of exiled Palestinians to return home as President Mahmoud Abbas held talks with Hamas leaders on accepting a truce he reached with the Israeli prime Minister in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Israeli and Palestinian officials said 56 deportees, including 39 gunmen sent to Gaza or Europe in 2002 after they holed up in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, would come back to the West Bank under the cease-fire.

Return of the deportees was a key Hamas condition for agreeing to end attacks on Israelis.

"These terrorists will be allowed back in on condition they undertake to abandon violence and live under close Palestinian Authority supervision," an Israeli official said. Palestinian officials said the deal was to be implemented within two weeks.

Posted by Hyscience at February 13, 2005 6:08 PM



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