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President: Israel to release ailing Palestinian

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April 18, 2013 12:53 PM EST | AP


JERUSALEM — Israel's president says he has approved the release of an ailing Palestinian prisoner on humanitarian grounds.

Shimon Peres noted in a statement that Mohammed al-Taj has served two-thirds of a 14-year sentence. It described al-Taj as a "security prisoner," a term used for those convicted of involvement in violence against Israelis.

"The decision to release him was taken on humanitarian grounds as the prisoner was ill with a serious medical condition," the statement said. It gave no further details.

The president's decision comes weeks after another security prisoner died of cancer while in Israeli custody. The death sparked violent anti-Israel demonstrations in the West Bank, where Palestinian prisoners are honored as heroes fighting Israeli occupation.