'France requested terrorist's release'

Channel 2: Sarkozy sent a letter to PM asking him to free man who plotted to kill Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

shas ovadia yosef 248 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
shas ovadia yosef 248 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
French President Nicolas Sarkozy sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu requesting that Israel release a terrorist imprisoned for planning to assassinate Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Channel 2 reported Wednesday evening. Salah Hassan Hamori, of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was arrested by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) for his part in the plot to kill Shas's spiritual leader in 2005. Hamori holds an Israeli identity card and French citizenship, and there has been massive Palestinian pressure on Sarkozy to work toward Hamori's release from jail, and to equate the status of the convicted terrorist to that of captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, who also holds French citizenship. According to Channel 2, Hamori's mother recently met with Sarkozy on the matter. The Prime Minister's Office acknowledged receiving the French request, and said it was being considered, according to the report. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner submitted an identical request to then-Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni last year. The PFLP cell of which Hamori was a member had planned to attack Yosef as he left his Jerusalem home. In January 2005, cell members studied the route leading to and from the rabbi's home, spied on the security guards located outside his residence and monitored his movements. Details released by the Shin Bet after the arrest revealed that the cell members had received funds and instructions from a senior PFLP member in Jerusalem and maintained close contacts with PFLP members incarcerated in Jericho for their involvement in the assassination of tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi in 2001. Other attacks carried out by the PFLP included the February 2003 infiltration into an IDF position on Mount Grizim near Nablus in which two soldiers were killed; the April 2003 penetration into the Bekaot training camp in the northern Jordan Valley in which two soldiers were killed; and the bomb attack at the Geha Junction last December in which four Israelis were killed.