x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Hunger-striking Palestinian footballer released from Israeli custody

Mahmoud Sarsak, who was on hunger strike for more than three months, greeted well-wishers in his native Gaza today after being held three years in Israeli custody without charges or trial.

GAZA CITY // Israel has released a member of the Palestinian national football team who lobbied for his freedom with a hunger strike of more than three months.

Mahmoud Sarsak greeted well-wishers in his native Gaza today after being held three years in Israeli custody without charges or trial.

Israel has accused Mr Sarsak of being active in Islamic Jihad, a claim he denies.

During his hunger strike, the 25-year-old lost nearly half his weight. He ended the fast last month as part of a deal for his release.

At a Gaza hospital, he emerged from an ambulance and kissed his parents and family members.

Israel said earlier today that he was to be released.