Negotiator: Israel to free 26 Palestinian prisoners on Aug. 13, the first of 4 releases

  • Updated: August 4, 2013 - 1:10 AM

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The chief Palestinian negotiator says Israel will release the first of four groups of long-held Palestinian prisoners next week.

Israel has agreed in principle to release 104 veteran prisoners in a U.S.-brokered deal that cleared the way toward resuming peace talks with the Palestinians after a five-year freeze.

Negotiations began in Washington last week, and are to continue in Jerusalem next week.

Negotiator Saeb Erekat said in a statement early Sunday that 26 prisoners will be freed Aug. 13.

An Israeli government official declined comment.

The U.S. wants a deal on the terms of a Palestinian state within nine months. The Palestinians fear Israel will seek only an interim agreement. Erekat said in his statement that such a partial deal is unacceptable.

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