The Prison Service released the names of 477 Palestinians and Israeli
Arabs set for release over the next 48 hours in exchange for Sgt. Gilad
Shalit, held captive in the Gaza Strip since 2006. The list contains the
planners of the bloodiest Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians over the last
On the Israeli list was Nasser Yataima, identified as the planner of a
suicide bombing in Netanya in which 30 civilians, most of them elderly hotel
residents, were killed in 2002. The attack sparked an Israeli invasion of
Arab cities throughout the West Bank.
Another prisoner slated for release was Tamimi Ahlam. Ahlam was
identified as the architect of the suicide bombing of a cafe in Jerusalem in
2002 in which 12 people were killed and 54 injured.
"There is no clear criterion for the release — just a list out of
nowhere," a petition to Israel's High Court that opposes the release said.
"Until such a criterion is set, every release serves as a clear and certain
opening to abductions and murders to come."
Israel also agreed to release Musab Hashlemon. Hashlemon was said to
have recruited and planned a multiple suicide bombing in buses in Beersheba
in which 16 people were killed in 2004. For Hashelmon, this marked the
second time he would be freed in a prisoner exchange.
Officials said many of the leading Hamas operatives would be sent to the
Gaza Strip rather than to their homes in the West Bank. But they
acknowledged that they would probably be employed by Hamas to plan an
insurgency campaign in the West Bank.
Ibrahim Jundiya was also slated to be sent from an Israeli prison to the
Gaza Strip. In 2002, Jundiya planned a Hamas suicide bombing in Jerusalem
that killed 11 bus passengers. His colleague, Fadi Al Jabaa, who planned the
suicide attack that killed 17 people in 2003, would also be transferred to
the Gaza Strip.
But officials said they doubted whether the High Court would block or
even delay the prisoner release. But they did not rule out massive
Palestinian unrest on the day of the release, including attacks on Israeli
"You must prepare for a range of scenarios in the prisons and outside of
them," Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich told prison
officials on Oct. 16.