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Security minister: Israel refused demands to release high-profile Islamic Jihad members

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev attends a Labor faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on May 16, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Public Security Minister Omer Barlev attends a Labor faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on May 16, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Internal Security Minister Omer Barlev says that the ceasefire deal did not include an agreement to release two high-profile members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad who are in Israeli custody.

The Cairo-mediated ceasefire between Israel and Islamic Jihad was said to have included an Egyptian promise to work toward the release Khalil al-Awawda, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad member who is hunger-striking in protest of his detention by Israel without any charges, and the terror group’s West Bank leader Bassam al-Saadi, who was arrested last week in a move believed to have sparked the round of violence in Gaza.

“Israel did not agree to anything, we responded negatively to the demands,” Barlev tells the Kan public broadcaster.

“Al-Saadi is like any prisoner, and the administrative detainee [al-Awawda], like any other administrative detainee. Toward the end of the detention period, the Shin Bet will assess the situation and decide whether to release him. Most of the times the Shin Bet extends [detention],” Barlev says.

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