Israel today released 16 Arab prisoners in a long-expected gesture of good will to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

Among them were 10 persons held without charges on suspicion of subversive activity and six sentenced by military courts for belonging to illegal organizations or participating in attempted bombings that resulted in no casualties.

Sources also said a larger list is being compiled and that up to 50 prisoners eventually may be released.

The heaviest prison sentence of those released today was five years. Most of the sentenced prisoners were nearing the end of their terms. The government said the 16 were selected because their release will present Isreal with no security risk.

Of those who had been held without charge, under an administrative detention provision from the British mandate period, four were from the Sinai Peninsula and six were from the West Bank of the Jordan River. The six sentenced prisoners were from the Gaza Strip and the Sinai.

Officials said seven of the released prisoners immediately crossed the border into El Arish, the Sinai town that reverted Friday to Egyptian control as a result of the Israel-egyptian peace treaty.

Since the Camp Davis agreements, Sadat periodically has suggested that Israel make such a good-will gesture. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin informed the Egyptian president of his plans to grant the release when the two leaders met Sunday in El Arish and Beersheba.

In another demonstration of the treaty's results, three Israeli landing craft sailed around the tip of the Sinai toward the Suez Canal to become the first Israeli warships to navigate the waterway, a military spokesman told United Press International.

The first Israeli civilian ship sailed through the canal April 30.

UPI also reported that a bomb apparently planted by Palestinian guerrillas exploded in the northern port city of Haifa, slightly wounding a 28-year-old woman.

A police spokesman said the injured woman was hospitalized but no damages or serious injuries were reported.

In Beirut, Lebanon, Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization claimed responsibility for the bambing. The PLO said the bomb was planted by "interior forces acting inside Palestine" and that it killed and wounded "several Zionists."