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Israel frees Palestinian parliament speaker

July 19, 2012 7:12 P.M. (Updated: July 21, 2012 1:41 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel on Thursday released parliament speaker Aziz Dweik along with Hamas leader Jaafar Izz Ad-Din, who spent 56 days on hunger strike, officials said.

Palestinians and lawmakers received the detainees at the Beit Sira checkpoint.

Hamas congratulated the Palestinian people for the release of the parliament speaker, who is a member of the Islamic party.

"The occupation’s continued detention of Palestinian lawmakers is a flagrant violation of international norms and laws and the Palestinian people will always be loyal to their leaders, lawmakers and detainees,” Hamas said.

Israeli forces detained the parliament speaker in January at the Jabaa checkpoint while he was leaving Ramallah. He was placed in Israel's "administrative detention" custody for six months.
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