Moment released Palestinian prisoner leads defiant chant in support of Hamas

Palestinian celebrates after being freed from Israeli prison

One of the 39 freed Palestinian prisoners, released from an Israeli prison yesterday, was defiant in her support for “the resistance”. Rawda Abu Ajamieh was welcomed back to the al-Duheishe refugee camp in Bethlehem’s occupied West Bank by huge crowds of elated Palestinians.

She then led the crowd in a chant supporting Mohammed Deif, the Hamas military chief. TV cameras filming the release broadcast her chanting: “God is the greatest.

“Put the sword before the sword! We are the men of Mohammed Deif!”

Deif, the head of the al-Qassam Brigades, was last heard on October 7 when he issued an audio address justifying the assault on Israel.

Thirty-nine Palestinian women and children detained on various charges were freed yesterday as part of a swap deal brokered by Qatar which also saw the release of 13 Israeli hostages seized by Hamas gunmen.

Another freed prisoner Aseel Al-Titi told a crowd at the Balata refugee camp that she “saluted the resistance”.

She said: “My feelings can’t be described. I’m with my family and my people. I am truly proud of my people. I salute the resistance. May Allah grant them victory and protect them. May the remaining prisoners be freed. Their near freedom is tomorrow, God willing.

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“We were shocked and happy at the same time, even though we knew we would be victorious in the end.”

Scenes in Beitunia, a city near Ramallah, saw a large crowd of mostly young men greet the freed prisoners by cheering, honking car horns and marching in the street carrying Palestinian flags.

Some in the crowd also carried the flag of the Hamas terrorist group and chanted in support of Abu Ubaida, the spokesperson of the group’s armed wing.

Marah Bakeer told reports that the deal was a “surprise” to many in the Israeli prison.

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Bakeer, who was arrested in 2015, when she was 16 years old for a knife attack on a border police officer, said: “This deal comes following the death of many people and this makes us unhappy and uncomfortable.”

More than 100 more Palestinian prisoners are due to be released over the coming four days and more may be freed if the truce is extended.

On Saturday, Israeli authorities expected that 14 Israeli hostages being held by Hamas will be released in exchange for 42 Palestinian prisoners.

The Israeli military says it is preparing for the next stage of the operation once the truce ends.

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