JERUSALEM — Israel said Thurs day that it will free up to 1,000 Palestinians it is holding after the signing of an accord with the Palestine Liberation Organization on expanding Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank, due next week.
The announcement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor followed statements by Foreign Minister Shimon Peres earlier in the day that the Jewish state and the PLO had reached "very important understandings" toward an accord.
Peres joined PLO and Israeli negotiators later at a secluded Israeli hotel where they were meeting for the fifth day to hammer out a deal by Tuesday's signing deadline.
Palmor said between 600 and 1,000 prisoners of the nearly 5,500 Israel still holds will be released. About 4,000 were freed when Gaza and Jericho self-rule began in May, 1994.