Thursday, June 25, 2015

Israel releases prominent Hamas leader

Israel on Thursday released a prominent Hamas leader in the West Bank, the Islamist group said, a year after his arrest along with hundreds of others following the killing of three Israeli teenagers.

Hamas says Hassan Yusef, who has spent years in Israeli jails and was elected to the Palestinian parliament in 2006 while in Israeli custody, has worked entirely in the political wing of the movement.

He is also known for having disowned his son after he worked as an informant for Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency under the codename “The Green Prince”.

“Occupation forces (Israel) on Thursday released Hassan Yusef after he was in administrative detention for an entire year,” Hamas said in a news report on its website,

Israel’s military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The army arrested Yusef, who was born in 1954, in June 2014 as part of a round-up of hundreds of members of the group in the occupied West Bank, Hamas said.

The arrests followed the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, which the Israeli government blamed on Hamas.

Those incidents and the brutal revenge killing of a Palestinian boy in east Jerusalem the following month by suspected Jewish extremists triggered events that led to a 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in the group’s stronghold, the Gaza Strip.

Yusef’s 36-year-old son, Mosab Hassan Yusef, admitted several years ago to being a top informer for Israel’s domestic security service during the second Palestinian intifada (uprising) that began in 2000, when Hamas carried out dozens of suicide bombings against the Jewish state.

Under administrative detention, a procedure dating back to the British mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, prisoners can be held for indefinitely renewable six-month periods without charge.

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