Following up on a pledge to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli PM Ehud Olmert said his country would release 250 Palestinian prisoners, Reuters reports. Olmert said Israelis would use "any means...to reinforce moderate elements in the Palestinian Authority." The move is part of an effort by the West to shore by Abbas and his Fatah group, in their struggle with the more militant Hamas.
An aide to Abbas welcomed the move but said the list of prisoners should be made in conjunction with the Palestinians. Earlier prisoner releases have drawn fire in Israel from families touched by Palestinian violence, though in an earlier statement Olmert said he wouldn't set free those "with blood on their hands.".