Israel Stops Prisoner Releases in Response to Bombings

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Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (search) delayed the release of dozens of Palestinian prisoners Tuesday after two homicide bombings killed two Israelis and wounded a dozen, senior government sources said.

A bus bearing prisoners had earlier left a prison in northern Israel headed for a West Bank (search) checkpoint where they were scheduled to be freed Tuesday afternoon.

Israel's president commuted the sentences of 69 Palestinian prisoners on Monday, clearing the way for their release. The inmates were imprisoned for crimes, rather than militant activity.

Israel released 334 members of militant groups last week, in a goodwill gesture dismissed as inadequate by Palestinians.

Some 7,700 Palestinian prisoners are held by Israel.