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Palestinian Resident of Yarmouk Camp Released after 14 Years in Israeli Jail

Published : 29-04-2019

Palestinian Resident of Yarmouk Camp Released after 14 Years in Israeli Jail

Palestinian prisoner Ahmed Khamis, a resident of Yarmouk Camp in Syria, and prisoner Zaidan Tawil, from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, were released from Israeli jails on Sunday and have been taken back to Syria, in what media sources described as Russian-mediated reciprocation for the repatriation of the body of a long-missing Israeli soldier.

The prisoners had been transferred to the Red Cross and then taken to Syria, Israel's military confirmed on Sunday. 

Khamis was kidnapped in April 2005, allegedly after he attempted to creep into an Israeli military base and carry out an anti-occupation operation in the occupied Golan Heights. He was sentenced to 18 years in jail.

Both prisoners had allegedly requested to not be sent back to Syria, according to Israeli media outlets. 

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Ahmed wished to be sent to the Palestinian city of AlKhalil, where he is supposed to marry his partner, while Tawil feared he would face persecution by the Syrian authorities. 

An Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity said on Saturday that Israel agreed to release the prisoners as a "goodwill gesture" after the return of the remains of Zachary Baumel earlier this month.

Israel's military announced on 3 April that Baumel's remains, missing since the 1982 Lebanon war, had been returned, bringing to a close a highly sensitive case for Israelis.

The announcement came less than a week before hotly contested Israeli elections, which saw Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu win a fifth term in office.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a visit by Netanyahu that the remains had been found by the Russian and Syrian armies, in a context where Moscow has a military presence in Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad. 

But Syrian Information Minister Imad Sara said on 4 April that Damascus had no knowledge of plans to repatriate the remains, nor was it aware of the details behind the discovery of the body and its subsequent transfer.

Short URL : http://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/8621

Palestinian prisoner Ahmed Khamis, a resident of Yarmouk Camp in Syria, and prisoner Zaidan Tawil, from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, were released from Israeli jails on Sunday and have been taken back to Syria, in what media sources described as Russian-mediated reciprocation for the repatriation of the body of a long-missing Israeli soldier.

The prisoners had been transferred to the Red Cross and then taken to Syria, Israel's military confirmed on Sunday. 

Khamis was kidnapped in April 2005, allegedly after he attempted to creep into an Israeli military base and carry out an anti-occupation operation in the occupied Golan Heights. He was sentenced to 18 years in jail.

Both prisoners had allegedly requested to not be sent back to Syria, according to Israeli media outlets. 

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Ahmed wished to be sent to the Palestinian city of AlKhalil, where he is supposed to marry his partner, while Tawil feared he would face persecution by the Syrian authorities. 

An Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity said on Saturday that Israel agreed to release the prisoners as a "goodwill gesture" after the return of the remains of Zachary Baumel earlier this month.

Israel's military announced on 3 April that Baumel's remains, missing since the 1982 Lebanon war, had been returned, bringing to a close a highly sensitive case for Israelis.

The announcement came less than a week before hotly contested Israeli elections, which saw Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu win a fifth term in office.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a visit by Netanyahu that the remains had been found by the Russian and Syrian armies, in a context where Moscow has a military presence in Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad. 

But Syrian Information Minister Imad Sara said on 4 April that Damascus had no knowledge of plans to repatriate the remains, nor was it aware of the details behind the discovery of the body and its subsequent transfer.

Short URL : http://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/8621