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Prisoners released as Israelis, Palestinians prepare for talks

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JERUSALEM — Israelis and Palestinians were to hold their first formal peace talks on home turf in the Middle East in nearly five years today, hours after Israel released 26 long-held Palestinian prisoners who were given a boisterous homecoming by cheering crowds.

Both sides have low expectations as they head into the U.S.-sponsored negotiations in Jerusalem, the third attempt since 2000 to agree on the terms of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

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