Israel on Sunday released from prison top Hamas leader Hasan Youssef.
Youssef, Hamas’s senior representative in the West Bank, was released after spending 28 months in prison.
He was initially held for 10 months in administrative detention. Later, he was sentenced to an additional 18 months in prison for security- related offenses.
Youssef, who is an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was convicted of participating in the re-establishment of Hamas’s infrastructure in the West Bank. Altogether, Youssef has spent a total of 19 years in Israeli prison over the past four decades.
The Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform list welcomed the release of Youssef and called for Israel to free all Hamas legislators it is holding in its prisons.
The Hamas leader is the father of Mosab Youssef, who has publicly admitted to having worked undercover for Israel’s security forces. The son has converted to Christianity and moved to the US and his family has disowned him.
Youssef is the third senior Hamas official to be released by Israel in the past few days.
Last week, Israel released two other senior Hamas representatives, Mohamed Totah and Khaled Abu Arafeh.
Totah is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, while Abu Arafeh previously served as Jerusalem Affairs Minister in the Hamas cabinet.
The two were previous residents of Jerusalem. In 2012, the Interior Ministry revoked their status as residents of Jerusalem and confiscated their Israeli-issued ID cards.
Meanwhile Israel is slated on Monday to return to the PA the remains of 36 Palestinians buried in Israel in unmarked graves, according to a report by the Ma’an Palestinian news agency.
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