Remaining female Palestinian prisoners will be released from Israeli prison in two weeks, a Hamas official said on Thursday, in what would be a closure to the first stage of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal with Israel.
The Israel Defense Forces soldier was released last month in exchange for 477 Palestinian militants, including 27 female prisoners, while another 550 Palestinians jailed in Israel are to be released in about a month.
However, prior to the deal's execution Hamas officials found out, having thought that the exchange would clear Israeli prisons of female inmates, that 9 female prisoners would remain incarcerated.
Ahead of the deal, however, Hamas official Abu Obeida said that there were unofficial contacts concerning the issue, adding that the issue would not serve as an obstacle to the Shalit swap deal.
On Thursday, the Ma'an news agency reported that the release of the remaining 9 female inmates was imminent, claiming that they would be set free in two weeks' time.
The Ma'an report quoted Hamas official Saleh Arouri as also saying that the talks regarding the deal were nearly over, saying that Egypt was mediating the negotiations.
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