Jailed Hamas minister Zidan released months after arrest
Israel on Wednesday released one of the Hamas government ministers it detained
after gunmen from the Gaza Strip abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in June.
It was not immediately clear whether the release of Palestinian Public Works
and Housing Minister Abdel-Rahman Zidan of Hamas was linked to a possible
prisoner exchange deal following a ceasef-ire agreement in the Gaza Strip over
A spokeswoman at the Prime Minister's office said the release was ordered by a
military court. She offered no other details.
The release of Zidan coincided with a visit to Israel by Egyptian intelligence
chief Omar Suleiman for talks on a possible deal that would include Israel's
release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of Shalit.
Zidan said he had been interrogated about his role in the Palestinian
government and had been detained in uncomfortable conditions.
"I hope that this interference will stop. This will not gain the peace they
(Israel) talk about," Zidan said after he was released by Israeli police at a
checkpoint near the West Bank town of Jenin.
Zidan, who was detained by Israel on November 3, was greeted by Hamas
supporters and his family.
Dozens of Hamas lawmakers and a number of cabinet ministers were detained
after Shalit's capture and most remain in custody.
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