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In Pictures: Prisoner Day protests in West Bank and Gaza

Palestine says there are currently 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in 18 different Israeli jails

RAMALLAH - Thousands of Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza rallied Thursday in solidarity with Israeli-held prisoners, as peace talks neared collapse following the Israelis refusal to free long-serving inmates.

To mark Prisoners Day, Palestinians took to the streets in the West Bank city of Ramallah, while hundreds took part in earlier rallies in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip late Wednesday.

In Hebron, some 2,000 people marched carrying photos of prisoners and waving Palestinian flags, and another 1,000 protested in the northern city of Nablus, AFP reported.

The row over prisoners caused a new deadlock in US-brokered peace talks in late March, just a month ahead of their deadline, when Israel reneged on its commitment to release a fourth and final batch of Palestinian inmates.

The Palestinians retaliated by seeking membership of several international treaties, breaking their own commitment under the talks which US Secretary of State John Kerry launched in July.

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"Prisoners Day has extra importance this year," said the Palestinian Prisoners Club head, Abdel Al al-Anani.

"The prisoners issue has become one of global significance, since it is the reason that peace talks have almost collapsed," he told AFP.

Palestine says there are currently 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in 18 different Israeli jails, scattered throughout the country. 

Photos courtesy of AFP

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