GAZA CITY, (AFP) – Hamas on Monday freed 80 prisoners on the eve of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, a police spokesman said. Skip related content
In a statement, Ayman al-Batniji said the 80 prisoners, all convicted of petty crimes or participating in violent family feuds, were freed at midday, in the Gaza Strip ahead of the Tuesday start of the holiday.
Another 100 detainees were given leave to visit their families for the festival, but have to report back to prison on Saturday, Batniji said.
The prisoner releases were ordered by Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya.
Hamas has run the Gaza Strip since 2007, when it routed forces loyal to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and seized control.
Over the past week, Hamas has ordered the release of 284 prisoners in the run-up the four-day festival, in which Muslims remember the willingness of biblical patriarch Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael.
Muslim countries often mark the Eid celebration by pardoning and releasing prisoners.