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29 Palestinian prisoners from Gaza freed in Israel

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TEL-AVIV, October 2 (RIA Novosti) - 29 prisoners from the Gaza Strip were released by Israeli authorities on Tuesday, bringing the total number of Palestinian prisoners freed in the past two days to 86, the Prisons Service said.

The celebrations were marred however when two people, among them a foreign news agency photographer, were wounded as Israeli troops fired on a crowd that had gathered to greet the newly-released men. The incident happened near the Erez checkpoint between Israel and the Hamas-run Gaza.

The gesture of goodwill came a day after a group comprising 57 prisoners from the West Bank was released under an amnesty timed to coincide with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

All of the prisoners had been arrested on charges of actions aimed against Israel, but none of them were ever linked to the death of Israeli nationals.

The freed prisoners are mostly members of Fatah, along with several who are members of smaller Palestinian factions. None belong to Hamas.

87 men were initially due to be freed on Monday, but one prisoner was kept behind bars after being accused of belonging to Hamas.

Hamas has controlled Gaza since it overthrew Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement in June, and the releases have been widely seen as an effort to bolster Abbas' government.

According to the Prisons Service, Israel is holding around 11,000 Palestinian prisoners

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