Israel holding Jordanian woman suspected of security offenses

Heba al-Libadi was arrested Aug. 20 while crossing to West Bank to attend wedding, has claimed torture and launched hunger strike; reports say she is suspected of ties to Hezbollah

Heba al-Labadi in an undated photo (Courtesy)
Heba al-Labadi in an undated photo (Courtesy)

Israel arrested a young Jordanian woman as she crossed the border into Israel nearly two months ago due to suspicions she was involved in serious security-related offenses, security officials told Channel 12 news on Thursday.

The arrest has caused outrage in Jordan and a pressure campaign for her release, the report said.

The 24-year-old woman, Heba al-Labadi, is a Jordanian Palestinian who arrived at the Allenby Crossing with family members to attend a wedding in the West Bank, which she has visited several times in the past.

She was detained on unspecified suspicions. Family members claim she has no political involvement and is not an activist for any cause. They allege she has suffered torture at the hands of Israeli authorities.

Haaretz reported that her arrest is tied to meetings in Lebanon with people affiliated with the Hezbollah terror group. According to the website Mondoweiss, her lawyer has said she only met with a presenter on a radio station owned by the organization.

It also reported that al-Libadi has been placed under administrative detention for a period of six months, with the potential of renewal. The controversial measure allows Israel to hold certain suspects indefinitely without charge.

Channel 12 reported that Jordan’s Foreign Ministry in recent days sent a strongly-worded letter to Israel’s embassy in Amman demanding her immediate release.

Al-Labadi launched a hunger strike over two weeks ago to protest her arrest and holding conditions, drinking only water, and has lost around 10 kilograms.

Her lawyer says she has been isolated, abused, verbally assaulted and held in brutal conditions. He said interrogators had threatened her that she could be held for years and never allowed to return to Jordan.

Israeli authorities have yet to publicly comment on the arrest and allegations.

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