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Photo: Al-Arab website

Red Cross to return Israeli from Lebanon

Ahmed Daif was arrested by Lebanese police after drifting into country's territorial waters last September; on Thursday he is expected to reunite with family

The International Red Cross is expected to return to Israel on Thursday an Israeli-Arab who has been imprisoned in Lebanon since crossing the border six months ago.

 

Ahmed Daif, 33, from the village of Ara, drifted into Lebanon's territorial waters last September. According to the London-based al-Hayat newspaper, he 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 Red Cross said its representatives have informed Daif's family that Lebanese authorities announced he would be released Thursday. The representatives visited the Israeli in jail, the humanitarian organization said.

 

It remains unclear whether Daif accidently crossed the maritime border between Israel and Lebanon while diving, or whether he purposefully swam over.

 

Daif's mother, who learned of his arrest while watching Hezbollah's television station al-Manar, approached several Knesset members and asked that they assist in the efforts to release her son. She even wrote a letter to Lebanese authorities stressing that Daif was not a spy. She urged them to show mercy and release her son.

 

On Wednesday Nihad Daif told Ynet that her son "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."

 

The mother and son have not spoken since the arrest, but she was able to send him a letter with the Red Cross' help. In his response letter, which the concerned family received in December, 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."

 

The mother said she fears her son may be arrested upon reentering Israel.

 

"I ask that the authorities help us and not hold him up. Ever since the arrest I've been in a fragile mental state. I haven't been eating or sleeping regularly," she said.

 

 

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פרסום ראשון: 03.28.12, 18:31
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