RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Hamas says Israel has released one of the Islamic
militant movement's most senior members, the speaker of the now-defunct
Baha Mahmoud, an aide, says Abdel Aziz Dweik, 64, was freed Thursday after
serving six months without charges. Israel's military had no comment.
Hamas defeated the Fatah movement of internationally backed Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas in 2006 parliament elections. After the vote, Israel
began arresting Hamas legislators in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, occupied
lands under Israeli control.
Hamas says 17 of the movement's 45 West Bank legislators are currently in
prison. Dweik previously served 33 months of a three-year sentence for belonging
to Hamas, considered a terror organization by Israel and the West.
The Palestinian parliament stopped functioning after Hamas seized Gaza from
Abbas in 2007.