Gaza Families to Visit Relatives in Israeli Prisons for First Time in Six Years

Deal that ended mass hunger strike two months ago allows for Gaza residents to visit prisoners held in Israel.

Relatives of Gaza prisoners held in Israel were headed on Monday for their first visit with them in more than six years.

Israel agreed to the visits in May as part of a deal to end a mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners.

Abdullah Qandil, a leader of a prisoner’s affairs group, says relatives of 26 Palestinian prisoners have gathered at the passenger crossing between Israel and Gaza on Monday with a Red Cross escort.

He says they'll go from there to the prison where their relatives are being held.

Israel is holding 450 prisoners from Gaza in all.

Israel stopped the family visits after the abduction of Gilad Shalit in 2006. Following Shalit’s release in November 2011, Palestinian prisoners began demanding that the visits resume.