The Red Cross has transferred into Israel's custody on Thursday a man who was arrested in Lebanon in September after drifting into the country's waters while diving.
Dozens of Ahmad Daif's family members arrived at the border crossing at Rosh Hanikra to greet the 33-year-old, but were forced to wait until the Israeli authorities finished questioning him.
The delay in Daif's release triggered an emotional response on the part of his relatives, who accused the police of detaining him because his is Arab.
Ahmad Daif's mother on Thursday (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)
"Why did they lie to me and forbid me to see him? It's only because he is Arab," his mother, Nehad, cried out, and proceeded to faint. After coming to, she told Ynet: "I prefer to thrown myself into the sea because they didn't let me hug my son and see him. I am saddened that I could celebrate his release. My son doesn't deserve such a treatment.
"He did not kill anyone, and was not involved in any security violation. We organized a big party for him in order to greet him the right way," she added.
On Wednesday, she said that her son's absence had taken a toll on her health and emotional state, and expressed concern he might be arrested upon his return to Israel. "He never spied for anyone – not for Israel or any other country. There is no truth to these allegations. All he did was focus on his work in the restaurant business."
'MKs kept us updated'
The mother and son have not spoken since the arrest six months ago, but she was able to send him a letter with the Red Cross' help. In his response, Daif wrote: "I'm in a prison in Lebanon and hope to see my beloved family. I have nothing in life but you all. Send my regards to everyone."
Earlier Thursday, Hanin Daif, Ahmad's sister, told Ynet that she could not wait to return to normal life upon her brother's release. She said that Knesset members have been keeping the family updated about Ahmad throughout his detention.
Rosh Hanikra crossing this morning (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)
"Over the first two weeks the Lebanese forces attacked him aggressively," she said. "On the first day, when he was arrested, they thought he was dead. Later they provided him with medical assistance. They thought he was an Israeli commando."
According to the London-based al-Hayat newspaper, Daif was found in a diving suit on a beach in the southern Lebanese border town of Naqoura, located north of Rosh Hanikra, and was immediately detained by Lebanese security forces on suspicion of spying for Israel.
The sister thanked Knesset members Ayoob Kara and Ahmad Tibi for helping to free her brother.
MK Kara told Ynet: "We have been monitoring Daif's condition throughout his detention, and have been in touch with all the officials who were responsible for his release. He was not released because he is Arab, but because he was found innocent."
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