US hikers_311 reuters.
(photo credit: Ho New / Reuters)
Josh Fattal, one of the American hikers released last week after spending over
two years in an Iranian prison, is Jewish and has an Israeli father, local
Philidelphia newspaper The Jewish Exponent reported Monday.
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weekly revealed the details of the Pennsylvania local only after Fattal and
fellow traveler Shane Bauer were released from Iranian custody, deferring due to
fears for his safety expressed by the Fattal family.
Fattal’s father was
born in Iraq and moved to Israel, acquiring citizenship before resettling in the
United States, according to the Exponent.
The younger Fattal reportedly visited
Israel a number of times, including a visit shortly before the trip that ended
with his 26-month imprisonment in Iran.
A Jewish Federation official told
the paper that Fattal’s mother once compared her son’s situation to that of
captive Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, but noted that Schalit was “in such worse
shape in terms of a chance of getting out.”
Fattal and Bauer, who were
arrested while hiking along the Iraq-Iran border in 2009 and who denied being
spies, flew to Oman on Friday, after officials there helped secure their release
by posting bail of $1 million.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
agreed to their release last week, saying it was a humanitarian gesture before
his annual trip to the UN General Assembly in New York.
arrested in July 2009 along with another American, Sarah Shourd. The trio
are all in their late 20s and early 30s.
Shourd was released on $500,000
bail a year ago and allowed to fly home, but the two men were sentenced to eight
years in prison last month after a trial held behind closed doors.