Ireland to take two Palestinian militants


Spain and Italy will each take three of the militants, Greece and Ireland will take two each, Portugal and Finland one each, and one will remain in Cyprus, state radio said on Sunday, citing Spanish diplomatic sources.

The first five of those European countries previously said they would take at least one militant each. Finland apparently emerged late in the process.

Cyprus, a candidate for EU membership, agreed to take the 13 men on a temporary basis while negotiations on their final destination continued.

Most of the Palestinians who were inside the church were set free, while 26 militants were sent to Gaza. The EU agreed to take the remaining 13 militants, whom Israel wanted to put on trial as terrorists.

In Europe they will enjoy protection "on humanitarian grounds" and will be entitled to reunification with their families at a later date, the EU said on Saturday.

Each country will apply its own laws should the Palestinians request asylum, and if Israel seeks to extradite any of them as it has indicated it may, the 15 EU member states will adopt a common position on the matter.

Diplomats said the Palestinians would be granted "special permission to stay" under national law with police surveillance and without the right to go abroad.