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Israel arrests Hamas man moments after PA frees him from prison

Atef al-Salehi, 43, was jailed by Palestinian Authority for involvement in 2010 West Bank shooting in which two Israelis were injured

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative: Israeli security forces arrest and blindfold a Palestinian man during clashes in the village of Beit Omar, near the city of Hebron in the West Bank, on October 11, 2015. (AFP/Hazem Bader)
Illustrative: Israeli security forces arrest and blindfold a Palestinian man during clashes in the village of Beit Omar, near the city of Hebron in the West Bank, on October 11, 2015. (AFP/Hazem Bader)

Hours after he was released from a Palestinian prison, Israeli forces on Wednesday arrested a Hamas man wanted for a shooting attack in the West Bank in 2010, the Shin Bet security agency announced in a statement.

Atef Ruhi Saleh al-Salehi, 43, was detained by the Palestinian security service shortly after the 2010 attack in which two Israelis were injured.

Al-Salehi is a member of Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. He and another operative, Islam Hamed, shot at an Israeli car at the nearby Rimonim Junction on September 1, 2010. Both were convicted by the Palestinian Authority for the attack.

The Palestinian Authority freed him on Wednesday. But as he was traveling from Beitunia prison to his hometown of Silwad, near Ramallah, Salehi was rounded up in a joint operation by Shin Bet and IDF soldiers, according to a Shin Bet statement.

Al-Salehi was sentenced to three years in 2011, but remained incarcerated until Wednesday. Hamed was still in a PA prison as of a year ago.

Israeli forces on Wednesday took Al-Salehi to an army base close to Silwad, the Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported. The Shin Bet said it took him in for questioning.

Palestinian media published photos of Al-Salehi online as reports of his rearrest Wednesday.

In the 2010 incident, an Israeli vehicle was ambushed by Palestinian gunmen and riddled with bullets. The passengers, Moshe and Shira Morano, were seriously and lightly injured, respectively.

Hamas later claimed responsibility for the attack, which was apparently timed to coincide with the renewal of US-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Washington, DC.

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