Hamas Lawmaker Arrested in Jerusalem After Year of Hiding From Israel Police

Police arrest Ahmed Abu Atoun had taken refuge the Red Cross compound after Israel ordered him expelled from Jerusalem for refusing to give up duties within Hamas Legislative Council.

Israel Police officers on Monday arrested a Hamas lawmaker who had been hiding in the Red Cross office in East Jerusalem for the past year.

Ahmed Abu Atoun fled to the Red Cross compound last year after Israel ordered him expelled from the city. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that when Abu Atoun stepped out of the building on Monday, plainclothes officers grabbed him.

Abu Atoun was among four Hamas politicians hiding in the building.

Israel first arrested the men in 2006 because of their connections to Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls the Gaza Strip. Israel subsequently ordered all four to leave the city. They went into hiding after they were released from prison last year.

The four men were given a month after their release from prison to leave the country and their Israeli identity cards were confiscated after refusing to give up their duties within the Hamas Legislative Council.

The four men were, in the past, warned by Israel that they must renounce their membership in Hamas or risk losing their residency rights in East Jerusalem.

Hamas man in Gaza - Natasha Mozgovaya
A Hamas man stands with an exhibition of Qassam rockets in Gaza.Natasha Mozgovaya