Israel frees terrorist clown

Clown who is also a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine released after 20 months in administrative detention.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Terrorist prisoners (illustration)
Terrorist prisoners (illustration)
Flash 90

A Palestinian Arab clown accused by Israel of membership in a terrorist group has been released after 20 months in administrative detention, AFP reported on Thursday.

The clown, 26-year-old Mohammad Abu Sakha, told the news agency he was released the day before from administrative detention, which allows Israel to detain terror suspects for periods of several months.

Abu Sakha said he had returned to Jenin, where family and friends were waiting to welcome him.

"It was like a party," he told AFP.

Abu Sakha had been part of the Palestinian Circus School in Bir Zeit and was arrested in December of 2015.

The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) said he had been arrested due to him being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group which is outlawed in Israel.

Amnesty International had called for his release last year.

Abu Sakha told AFP he would "absolutely" be returning to the circus as it was "a message".

"Israel arrests people every day, and closes them off economically," he charged. "The circus gives people hope."

The IDF did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Administrative detention is intended to allow authorities to hold suspects without charge so information is not disclosed that could jeopardize security.

Some jailed Arab terrorists have used hunger strikes as a measure to pressure Israel to free them from their administrative detention.

In May, a group of jailed terrorists agreed to end a 40-day hunger strike following an agreement with the Israel Prison Services (IPS).

During the 40-day period, 1,578 imprisoned terrorists, most of them Fatah members, went on a hunger strike. However, over 750 broke their strike in the middle. 16 of the prisoners were hospitalized and will be returned to their prison cells when they are healthy enough to be released.

The PFLP is responsible for the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi in 2001. The organization's leader, Ahmed Saadat, and two other senior members are serving sentences in Israel for their involvement in the murder.

In recent years, the organization has carried out a number of serious terrorist attacks, including a massacre in a Jerusalem synagogue.

Most recently, the group’s armed wing threatened to harm Knesset members based on intelligence information it claimed to have obtained.