Israel arrests Hamas lawmaker in Jerusalem Hiding Out at Red Cross
JERUSALEM (AP) — Undercover Israeli police officers on Monday arrested a Hamas lawmaker who had been hiding in the Red Cross’ office in east Jerusalem for the past year.
Ahmed Abu Atoun had fled to the Red Cross compound last year after Israel ordered him expelled from the city. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that when Abu Atoun stepped out of the building, plainclothes officers grabbed him. Israel Radio reported that the police were disguised as Arabs.
Abu Atoun was among four politicians Israel arrested in 2006 for their connections to Hamas, an Islamic militant group that Israel considers a terrorist organization.
After spending time in jail, they were all ordered to leave the city. They sought shelter at the Red Cross to avoid expulsion.
One of the other men in hiding, former Cabinet minister Khaled Abu Arafa, told a Gazan radio station that Israeli police arrested Abu Atoun in a tent on the Red Cross lawn.
Red Cross spokeswoman Cecilia Goin said the Hamas politicians often receive visitors in the tent. She confirmed Abu Atoun was arrested, but said the Red Cross was still investigating the circumstances.
Abu Atoun is the second member of the group to be arrested. Another lawmaker, Mohammed Abu Teir, was taken into custody earlier this month after venturing out of the compound.