Hamas official detained hours after release from Israeli jail
Mohammed Abu Tir, who was one of 65 Hamas lawmakers and senior militants detained by Israel in 2006 raids, urges Israel to expedite Shalit deal.
Hours after being released from Israeli prison on Thursday, Hamas official Mohammed Abu Tir was taken into custody by Israeli police. Abu Tir has been jailed for the last four years, since his arrest along with 65 other senior Hamas men in response to the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.
Though the reason for the arrest Thursday is not yet known, it is possible that Abu Tir was summoned for questioning over remarks he had made during a press conference immediately following his release.
Israel also issued an order banning the Hamas official from Jerusalem, to go into effect June 16, Palestinian sources reported.
Extreme right wing Israeli activist Itamar Ben-Gvir waited for Abu Tir outside the police station in Jerusalem, and yelled out derogatory remarks when the Hamas man exited the station.
Earlier Thursday, Abu Tir urged Israel's leaders to reach an agreement with his organization that would see the release of Shalit, who was captured in a cross border raid in June 2006 and has been held in Gaza by Hamas ever since.
Abu Tir told reporters that if it were "in his hands" he would expedite the prisoner swap deal.
"All Israeli leaders are against the deal to release Gilad Shalit," Abu Tir told reporters following his release. "They reached a deal a number of times, but never followed through. Just like I have a family, a father, mother and children, Gilad Shalit also has a mother and father who want him."
"If only there was a deal, but it's not in my hands, it is in the hands of the leaders," said Abu Tir. "Israel's leaders must think about this. I don't like that Shalit is being held hostage, just as I didn't like being held hostage."
When asked how he felt having been released from prison, Abu Tir said: "I feel good, thank God. I paid a heavy price."
Israel has so far released nine of the Hamas officials who were jailed after Shalit's abduction convicted of belonging to an illegal organization. Israeli defense officials said those ministers had just completed their prison terms and their release was not connected to a prisoner swap deal for Shalit's release.
Hamas won control of the Palestinian parliament in 2006 elections and then seized the Gaza Strip in 2007, leading to rival governments in the West Bank and Gaza.