Two Jordanian nationals held in Israel for a couple of months on suspicion of terror activity were returned to Jordan Wednesday, following an agreement between Jerusalem and Amman to end a diplomatic spat.
A spokesman for the Israel Prisons Service said that its forces handed Heba al-Labadi and Abdel Rahman Miri over to the IDF at the Allenby crossing in the Jordan Valley Wednesday morning ahead of their return to Jordan.
They later crossed into Jordan, where they were embraced by their families.
Labadi thanked King Abdullah II upon her arrival in Jordan.
“Thanks to his majesty, the king. Thanks to the Foreign Ministry. Thanks to the Jordanian people,” she told Al Mamlaka TV, a state-funded channel. “Praise God. I am very happy. Without your support, I would not have achieved my freedom.”
Ayman Safadi, Jordan’s foreign minister, said earlier Wednesday morning that the two would return.
“Within hours, Heba al-Labadi and Abdel Rahman Miri will be with their families in Jordan,” Safadi said in a tweet.
Labadi and Miri, who are both of Palestinian descent, were arrested a couple of months ago at a border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank and held without charge, sparking a diplomatic row between Jerusalem and Amman.
MK Avi Dichter, a former Shin Bet chief, confirmed that the two had returned to Jordan, but said their arrest had thwarted attacks by Hezbollah and Hamas.
Raslan Mahajna, their lawyer, has said they both deny having ties to terror groups.
On Monday, Israel said the agreement to return the two to Amman included the return to Israel of Jordan’s ambassador, Ghassan Majali, who was recalled last week to protest the detention. Amman has not confirmed it will send Majali back.
Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi, who visited Labadi in prison on Thursday, congratulated the two on Twitter.
— وزارة الخارجية الأردنية (@ForeignMinistry) November 6, 2019
Israel detained Labadi, 32, and Miri, 29, at the Allenby crossing on August 20 and September 2, respectively. The Palestinian Authority Prisoners Affairs Commission has said that both of them were held under administrative detention orders, which allows Israel to hold suspects without charge for months at a time.
Labadi launched a hunger strike to protest her detention, but ended it on Monday after Israel and Jordan announced she would be released.
A spokesman for Israel’s Shin Bet security service said last Wednesday that Labadi and Miri were being held “because of suspicions of their involvement in serious security violations,” without elaborating.
Mahajna said on Monday that Israeli authorities suspect that Labadi was planning to recruit Palestinians in the West Bank on behalf of the Hezbollah terror group to carry out attacks against Israel. He said she firmly denied those suspicions.
Mahajna added that Israeli authorities suspect that Miri was a member of the Hamas terror group. He said Miri denies the accusation.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.