Hamas: Israel Should Free Remaining 550 Prisoners by December 19

Member of Hamas political bureau says those released in second stage of Shalit swap must be security prisoners and must be allowed to return to their homes.

The second stage of a prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas should go into effect by December 19, a member of the Islamic movement's political bureau said Sunday.

The first stage of the high-profile prisoner exchange, which took place on October 18, saw the release of Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit after more than five years in captivity.

Palestinian prisoners - Emil Salman - 28102011
Emil Salman

Israel in turn free 477 Palestinians jailed in Israel, and vowed to release another 550 security prisoners in a second stag within two months.

Salah Al-Arouri, the Hamas member tasked with overseeing the exchange on behalf of his groups, said that the deal should thus be ready for implementation if Israel keeps to its end of the agreement.

The second stage of the exchange involves two basic criteria, said Al-Arouri: Israel must release security prisoners, and said prisoners must be freed to their homes.

Al-Arouri added that Hamas had delivered a list to Israel, via Egyptian mediators, a list of prisoners it hopes to see released, including the sick and elderly.

He also said that the 10 female prisoners remaining in Israeli jails should be freed, regardless of whether they were included in the 500 or not.