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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

West Bank prepares for release of prisoners trapped due to sudden attacks by Hamas

Israeli forces started raiding the refugee camp early on Thursday, and violent clashes erupted, killing one Palestinian and wounding three others

Hiba Yazbek Jerusalem Published 25.11.23, 06:17 AM
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Representational image File image

As soon as the Tanji siblings heard that their youngest sister, Walaa, could be released from an Israeli prison on Thursday, they began frantically preparing for her arrival.

Some were arranging transportation for family members scattered across the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Others rented plastic chairs to accommodate the crowds that would come to greet her.

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“We were so happy,” said Nagham Tanji, Walaa’s older sister. “My sisters and I could not wait for the sun to rise and for this day to come.”

The family was among many on both sides of the conflict who were hopeful after the announcement of a deal to release about 50 hostages held in the Gaza Strip and about 150 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, paired with a temporary cease-fire. Then came some delays, which dampened hopes. But on Thursday came an announcement that the exchange would begin on Friday.

When told the news, Tanji said, “Praise be to God, who made the deal happen. Patience is the key to relief. Now I want to start arranging again for her reception.”

Walaa Tanji, 26, was detained by Israel over a year ago at her home in the Balata refugee camp on the outskirts of Nablus, West Bank, along with two other women. Israel’s military accused the three of planning an attack on an Israeli checkpoint and said it had found firearms in a car they were using. Tanji said that her sister was innocent and that she had yet to be charged or sentenced.

Even if Walaa had been released on Thursday, the reception would not have been possible.

Israeli forces started raiding the refugee camp early on Thursday, and violent clashes erupted, killing one Palestinian and wounding three others, according to Wafa, the Palestinian Authority’s news agency. The Israeli military has been carrying out nightly raids across the West Bank since the Hamas attack in Israel on October 7, saying they are part of a counterterrorism operation to apprehend wanted Palestinians.

New York Times News Service

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