Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Israel Agrees to Release 90 Prisoners

JERUSALEM -- Israel agreed Sunday to free another 90 Palestinian prisoners to bolster President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of a U.S.-sponsored conference on Palestinian statehood, officials said.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Cabinet approved the release in principle and said a ministerial committee would meet later Sunday to finalize the list of prisoners.

Olmert's proposal to release Palestinian prisoners for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan had been delayed for two weeks after a series of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip cast doubt on whether he could persuade his Cabinet to back the move.

The Israeli government had been expected to release more than 100 Palestinian prisoners. It was not immediately clear why the number was cut back.

"The idea of releasing prisoners is specifically to bolster the moderates," Olmert spokeswoman Miri Eisin said.

Abbas aide Saeb Erekat welcomed the step but said Israel's criteria for releasing prisoners were "too restrictive" and should be changed.

n Israeli police seized an explosive belt that was intended to be used in a Tel Aviv suicide bomb attack on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, a police spokesman said Saturday.

A police spokesman said officers raided an apartment in Israel's commercial capital Saturday and arrested four people, including a suspected would-be suicide bomber.