Israel on Thursday freed a senior Hamas lawmaker abducted shortly after Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured in a cross-border raid from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2006. Mohammed Abu Tir, a resident of Jerusalem. was among 65 top Hamas members kidnapped by Israeli forces in the days after the soldier's capture.
According to Haaretz, Israel has so far released nine of the Hamas officials jailed after Shalit's capture. Israeli sources said those Hamas members had completed their prison terms and their release was not connected to a prisoner swap deal for Shalit's release.