Israeli released in Libya returns

August 9, 2010 00:20

Held since March; greeted by FM who worked months for the release.

1 minute read.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman with Yisrael Hadada.

Lieberman Hadada 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Israeli Yisrael (Rafram) Hadad, who was arrested in Libya in March, arrived in Israel on Monday afternoon, where he thanked Israel and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for securing his release.

In a press conference in Ben Gurion International Airport, Hadad said: "I just want to thank everyone, it's so great to see so many people here."

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Hadad was released and flew to Vienna Sunday night, where he was greeted by  Lieberman who, has been working for months for his release.

Hadad, 34, who holds both Israeli and Tunisian passports, went to Libya to take photos of former Jewish property there for a Libyan Jewish organization in Israel, and then suddenly disappeared.

Since then, the Foreign Ministry tried using contacts in France, Italy and the US to win his release, but failed.

Some two-and-a-half months ago, according to government sources, Lieberman got involved and asked Austrian businessman Martin Schlaff, with whom he has good ties and who has business ties with the Libyans, to intercede.

The Libyans originally conditioned Hadad’s release on Israeli allowing a ship that set sail for Gaza last month to enter the Gaza port, something that Israel refused to do. An agreement was then reached with the Egyptians that the ship could dock in El-Arish and that the material on the vessel would be allowed into Gaza.

As part of the deal for the release of Hadad, Israel agreed that Libya could build 20 prefabricated housing units inside Gaza.

A spokesman for Lieberman quoted him late Sunday evening as saying that “the redemption of captives is a big mitzva, and I’m happy I was able to contribute my part to winning his freedom.”

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