Thursday, September 1, 2011

Israeli forces detain Hamas lawmaker at checkpoint

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces detained Hamas lawmaker Sheikh Hassan Yousef on Wednesday at Zatara checkpoint south of Nablus.

Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli soldiers held Yousef at the checkpoint for hours before detaining him.

The Israeli military confirmed it had detained Yousef, who was released from prison in early August after serving a six-year term for "membership of a terrorist organization," but declined to give any additional details

Senior Hamas official Ahmad Bahar condemned the detention and said that the policy of targeting lawmakers will not break the will of the Palestinian people.

Last March, Yousef disowned his son after he admitted to having spied on Hamas for Israel and played a major role in the arrest of senior militants.

Mosab Hassan Yousef, 32, said he was a top informer for Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency and was known by the codename "The Green Prince."

He converted to Christianity 10 years ago and now lives in California.

He reportedly worked for the Shin Bet at the height of the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, that began in 2000, when Hamas carried out dozens of suicide bombings and Israel waged all-out war on the Islamist movement.

Hamas has said the elder Yousef worked entirely in the public political wing of the movement. He was elected to the Palestinian parliament in 2006, while in Israeli custody.

AFP contributed to this report