Hamas Leader and Father of Shin Bet Informer Released From Israeli Prison

Sheikh Hassan Yousef's son Mosab gained fame when he divulged in a 2010 interview with Haaretz that he had informed on Hamas' militant activities from 1997 through 2007.

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A Hamas founder whose eldest son gained fame after revealing that he had been an informer for the Shin Bet security service was released Sunday from an Israeli security prison, Agence Presse France reported. Sheikh Hassan Yousef was imprisoned this latest time in late 2011 for membership in an illegal organization.

His son Mosab gained fame when he divulged in a 2010 interview with Haaretz that he had informed on Hamas' militant activities from 1997 through 2007. Months after the interview, his memoir "Son of Hamas" was published.

During the time he was living a double life, the younger Yousef converted to Christianity. Later he moved to San Diego, where he avoided deportation from the United States largely on the strength of the testimony of his one-time Shin Bet handler. Agent Gonen Ben-Yitzhak revealed his own identity so he could testify on Yousef's behalf, calling him a "true friend" who "risked his life every day in order to prevent violence."

Born in Ramallah, Mosab spent his youth throwing stones at Israeli troops and getting arrested. He wrote that he switched allegiances in prison when he was in late teens after becoming repelled at Hamas' brutal practices.

After his son's revelations, his father Hassan disowned him. The elder Yousef, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was welcomed by Palestinians upon his release from Ofer Prison. He pledged to work with "Fatah and other Palestinian factions to achieve reconciliation."

Palestinians greet and congratulate Sheikh Hassan Yousef (C), a prominent leader of the Hamas Islamic movement, following his release on January 19, 2014 after spending 28 months in prison.Credit: AFP

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