Israel Arrests Palestinian Footballer For ‘Aiding Hamas’


FIFA President Sepp Blatter (R) shakes hands with Palestinian coaches Photo: REUTERS
FIFA President Sepp Blatter (R) shakes hands with Palestinian coaches Photo: REUTERS

JERUSALEM — A Palestinian soccer player has been arrested on charges of meeting a Hamas militant in Qatar in April and helping with delivering money to the group’s operatives in the West Bank, Israeli authorities said Wednesday.

In a statement, the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, identified the suspect as 22-year-old Samah Fares Mahmad Marava, a resident of Kalkilya and a member of the Palestinian national soccer team, Xinhua reported.

It said that April 15 he travelled with his team on a soccer tour abroad that included Qatar, where he met with Talal Ibrahim Abd al-Rahman Sarim, a militant who previously served a life sentence in Israel, but was released and deported as part of a prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas in 2011.

The suspect told Shin Bet interrogators that prior to leaving for Qatar he was approached by a senior Hamas operative in Kalkilya and asked to meet Sarim, who had rejoined Hamas’ military wing after arriving in Qatar, and has been involved in directing its operations in the West Bank, the statement said.

During interrogation, the footballer confessed that in Qatar he met for a number of times with the Hamas man, and was asked to deliver some money, a cell phone and written messages back to the group’s operatives in Kalkilya.–IANS

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