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Palestinian prisoner escapes Egyptian jail

Jan. 30, 2011 4:33 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 31, 2011 9:19 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian held in an Egyptian prison has returned to the Gaza Strip, his family said Sunday.

Relatives of Hassan Washah said he returned to the Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, the fate of dozens of other Palestinian prisoners in Egyptian custody is still unclear. Egyptian state security recently arrested seven Palestinians from Gaza, including a student accused of inventing a hi-tech surveillance system.

Spokesman for relatives of Palestinians held in Egypt Imad As-Sayyid said Egypt is holding 39 Palestinians, and that 11 escaped from Abu Za'bal prison on the desert road between Cairo and Alexandria.

As-Sayid said his brother Muhammad was among those who escaped, and that he was on his way home.

The spokesman added that his brother had been detained for 21 months despite an official decision to release him earlier.

The wife of Ayman Nofal, a prominent member of Hamas’ military wing Al-Qassam Brigades detained in Egypt, said she had not received any news about him. She could not confirm that he escaped from Al-Marj prison.

As-Sayid could not confirm media reports that Muhammad Ramadan Ash-Shaer escaped prison and returned to his home in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Ash-Shaer is a notorious smuggler, known in Gaza as the "King of tunnels," and "Al-Far," (the mouse).

Egyptian authorities detained Ash-Shaer six months ago when he returned from Saudi Arabia. He was traveling on his brother's passport.

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