Israel arrests top West Bank Hamas leader


Israel arrested a top Hamas leader in the West Bank that it had released from jail several weeks ago.

The Israeli military arrested Sheikh Hassan Yusef late Wednesday night in the West Bank as he crossed a checkpoint between the Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Nablus, AFP reported.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed Palestinian reports of Yusef’s arrest, but did not give any details as to why he was detained.

Yusef, a founder of Hamas, was released in early August as a good-will gesture for Ramadan from an Israeli prison where he was serving a six-year sentence for membership in a terrorist organization.

He is the father of Mosab Hassan Yusef, author of the book “Son of Hamas,” who served as an informant for Israel’s Shin Bet security service. Yusef disowned his son.

Shalit spends 25th birthday in captivity


Captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit spent his 25th birthday in captivity.

Sunday was the sixth birthday that Shalit has marked in captivity since he was captured by Hamas terrorists in a cross-border raid in June 2006.

Shalit’s parents led a protest in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem on Sunday, with banners reading “We won’t let Gilad celebrate alone.” Another banner called on Netanyahu to give Shalit “his life back” for his birthday.

In a letter to their son to mark his birthday, Noam and Aviva Shalit wrote:

“With the burning sun beating on our heads, on the sidewalk adjacent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home, we are trying to digest the fact that 1,890 days have passed and you still are not with us. …

“We’re here. We haven’t given up, we haven’t surrendered, and we have not been broken. And we are not alone. Our dearest Gilad, many many people who are strangers to you, who you have never met, think as we do, that it is inconceivable to speak of social solidarity, of national fortitude and of having faith in the State while abandoning you to your fate. Day after day, lonely and abandoned in Hamas dungeons for over half a decade.”