Israel release Palestinian deputy prime minister

ISRAEL yesterday released the Palestinian deputy prime minister, the highest ranking of some 30 officials in the Hamas-led government, after jailing him without charges for more than a month.

Nasser Shaer said he was not mistreated by his Israeli jailers, but he objected to his detention.

“There is nothing dearer than being free,” he said.

“They came and took me from my house in front of my children, wife, and family. They had no reason to.”

The arrest of more than 30 top Palestinian officials, apparently for use as a bargaining chip to try to win release of a captured Israeli soldier, has been a sore point in relations between Israel and the Palestinians, which have rapidly deteriorated since Hamas took power.

Israel and the West, labelling the violent Islamic movement a terror group, have cut off funding to the Palestinian government, plunging the Palestinian areas into a deep financial crisis.

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