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Hamas making feature film on Israeli soldier's captivity

A young Israeli soldier captured by Gaza militants and held for five years before being traded for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners is the subject of an ambitious low-budget film being made by his captors. The fate of Gilad Shalit, a corporal captured in a deadly cross-border raid when he was just 19, transfixed Israel for years as his captivity in an unknown location challenged what most Israelis see as the state's sacred duty to bring its soldiers home.

Palestinian prisoner freed after hunger strike

A Palestinian prisoner held in Israel since July 2012 who staged a life-threatening hunger strike was released from prison on Monday, an AFP journalist said. Samer Issawi, whom authorities had accused of "terrorist" activities, ended his strike in April after he was taken to hospital in critical condition, in return for a promise he would be freed. Under the terms of that deal, Issawi was due to be freed eight months from the end of his hunger strike and allowed to return to his home in Issawiya in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Israel frees Palestinian prisoner after hunger-strike deal

By Ali Sawafta RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Israel freed a Palestinian prisoner from jail on Monday, completing a deal agreed earlier this year in exchange for him halting a lengthy hunger strike that almost killed him. Samer al-Issawi stopped his eight-month, on-off fast last April. His confinement had stoked weeks of protests in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Gaza militants say dug tunnel into Israel

The military wing of Gaza's ruling Hamas said on Monday that it masterminded what Israel called a "terror tunnel" from Gaza into the Jewish state, meant to kidnap Israeli soldiers. "This tunnel was made by the hand of the fighters of (Izzadine) al-Qassam and they will not sleep in their efforts to hit the occupation and kidnap soldiers," the group's spokesman Abu Obeida told Hamas's al-Aqsa radio. "We are working on the ground and under the ground to release the prisoners (held by Israel)," he said.

Israel press bemoans price of talks resumption

As Israeli and Palestinian negotiators headed to Washington for the resumption of peace talks on Monday, most Israeli newspapers hit out at the decision to free 104 prisoners in return. "The murderers will go free," was the top-selling daily Yediot Aharonot's front-page headline after the cabinet agreed to release the veteran Palestinian and Israeli Arab prisoners, many of them convicted militants.

High hopes for Palestinian 3D animated 'Scarecrow' film

Filmmakers in Gaza have finished making what is believed to be the first Palestinian animated feature in 3D in a bid to show a fresh perspective on life through a child's eyes. Called "The Scarecrow", the 40-minute production tells the story of a nine-year-old orphan named Rima and the scarecrow she was given by her parents who died in a car crash. One day, the scarecrow -- who represents the guardian of Palestinian land -- is taken away by an Israeli soldier from the family's land near the border, and Rima sets off with her school friends on a mission to find it.

Pressure mounts on Israel over Palestinian prisoner fast

* Palestinians and Egyptians seek prisoners' release * World powers express concern * Gaza militants say any deaths would undermine calm By Noah Browning RAMALLAH, West Bank, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails declared a one-day fast on Tuesday in solidarity with four inmates whose hunger strike has fuelled anti-Israel protests in the occupied West Bank.
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