RAMALLAH, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Twenty-six Palestinian prisoners released by Israel arrived in the West Bank City of Ramallah and the Gaza Strip early Wednesday, witnesses said.
The prisoners were freed as a goodwill gesture by Israel to encourage U.S.-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians.
Eleven of the freed from the West Bank were taken by bus to Bitunia checkpoint near Ramallah and the other 15 from Gaza were shuttled to Erez crossing point between Israel and Gaza.
Hundreds of family members of the prisoners gathered near the two destinations to receive the prisoners, holding their posters and Palestinian flags.
The 26 prisoners were charged with perpetrating deadly terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. The list of the 26 prisoners was authorized by an Israeli ministerial panel, under the advisement of the Shin Bet, Israel's Security Agency.
The bunch was part of the 104 prisoners that the Israeli government approved to release in several batches in the upcoming months, amid the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.
Israelis and Palestinians resumed their direct peace talks in Washington on July 30, after a three-year hiatus, caused by Israel's settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
The second round of talks is scheduled to take place in Jerusalem on Wednesday afternoon, while a third round of talks will be held in the West Bank town of Jericho.