An IDF force yesterday spotted two armed terrorists approaching the Jewish community of Bracha, overlooking Shechem in the Shomron. The soldiers opened fire, killing both terrorists.

One of the two would-be murderers was Atzam Mantzur, 29. He was apprehended by Israel in October 2001, but was later freed from prison in January 2004 by the Sharon government as part of an exchange for captured Israeli Elchanan Tenenbaum and the bodies of three IDF soldiers murdered by Hizbullah.

The other terrorist was 24-year-old Mahyub Yusef Kiny. Both terrorists were members of the PLO’s Tanzim terror group.

After extensive searches, a 20-lb. roadside bomb was discovered today in that same area, along the road leading to Bracha. The bomb was to be detonated using a cellular phone, but was neutralized by police sappers, preventing what could have been a devastating attack on school buses and other vehicles entering and leaving the community.

As this was going on, Israel released the names of the 500 prisoners scheduled for release next week. Victims of terror attacks were given 48 hours to file petitions against the release of specific prisoners, but Israel’s Supreme Court rejected all such requests. In an unprecedented rendering of a political opinion, Supreme Court Judge Mishael Heshin gave an endorsement of the practice of releasing prisoners, telling petitioners Wednesday that he thinks the prisoner release will advance peace.

The Cabinet stipulated that no terrorists with “blood on their hands” would be released in the first release, and in fact none of those on the current list murdered anyone. What differentiates between those being released and those excluded, however, is only whether their particular attack actually succeeded in killing Jews. The Almagor Terror Victims Association notes that many of those who have been released in previous years return to their terrorist ways.

Over 40 of the terrorists included in the upcoming release carried out shooting attacks with the intention of murdering Israelis, and several were involved in planning bombings. Included are such terrorists as Amjad Bahti, who was sentenced to 46 months for trying to plant a bomb, and Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade Mahdi A-Rahim, who was imprisoned two years ago for shooting at Israeli soldiers.

Many of those to be released worked as, and will again become, PA para-military policemen.

The list of those to be released, alongside a partial list of the crimes of which they were convicted, can be viewed on the web site of the Israel Prison Service.