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Report: Israel Scraps Prisoner Release, Reviews Peace Talks

Image: Protest in Jerusalem against Palestinian prisoner release
Relatives of victims of Palestinian bomb attacks take part in a protest against the release of Palestinian prisoners as they march through central Jerusalem, 2 April.JIM HOLLANDER / EPA

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JERUSALEM - Israel has called off a planned release of Palestinian prisoners and called for the U.S.-sponsored negotiations to be reviewed, it was reported Thursday.

Israeli negotiators informed their Palestinian counterparts of the decision in an overnight meeting that was supposed to avert a collapse of the troubled talks, an official briefed on the process told Reuters.

The reported decision came hours after a frustrated Secretary of State John Kerry urged both sides to show leadership, calling it a “critical moment.”

"Leaders know what they need to do,” he told reporters while on a visit to Algeria Thursday.

Image: Protest in Jerusalem against Palestinian prisoner release
Relatives of victims of Palestinian bomb attacks take part in a protest against the release of Palestinian prisoners as they march through central Jerusalem, Tuesday.JIM HOLLANDER / EPA

“It would be a tragedy for them to lose the ability to get to the final status,” he said. "In the end, they will have to say yes. "You can facilitate, you can push, you can nudge, but the parties themselves have to make fundamental decisions and compromises.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

- Alastair Jamieson

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