Arab-American Followed Orders to Report, Was Arrested
JERUSALEM (AP) _ A fourth Arab-American jailed in Israel for alleged links to the radical Muslim movement Hamas was taken into custody after twice obeying orders to report for questioning, his lawyer said today.
Israeli authorities disclosed the arrest of Anwar Hamdan, 33, on Sunday, a week after he was detained in the occupied West Bank town of Ramallah.
In late January, three Americans of Palestinian origin were arrested in the occupied territories and accused of aiding Hamas. One has since been released. The other two remain in jail but have yet to be charged with any crime.
Hamdan’s attorney, Jawad Boulos, said his client also has not been charged.
″I think he was questioned because he is just an Arab-American who arrived at the same time with the other Arab-Americans who were arrested,″ Boulos said.
He said Hamdan arrived in his hometown El Bireh, near Ramallah, in late January to visit relatives. He was accompanied by his wife, Iman Annab Hamdan, also of Palestinian origin.
Israel radio said Sunday that Hamdan was suspected of delivering money to Hamas to help rebuild the group after Israel deported 400 alleged Muslim radicals to Lebanon in December.
Boulos said he believes the arrests stem from Israel’s belief in links between Palestinian-Americans and Hamas, which it blames for the killings of several Israeli soldiers.
At the time of the first arrests, some Israeli officials and media reports said Hamas was being run from the United States, an allegation denied by U.S. officials.
Boulos said Hamdan followed orders by the Shin Bet internal security agency to report for questioning in late February, was released and told to return on a few days later. When Hamdan went back Feb. 28, he was taken into custody, the attorney said.
Boulos said Hamdan lives in Pennsylvania, but he did not know in which town. Hamdan was initially reported to be from Chicago because his U.S. passport was issued there, the lawyer said.
U.S. consular officer Donna Sherman confirmed the arrest of an American, but cited privacy laws in refusing to give his name. She said the consulate was informed of the detention by Israel on March 1 and visited the man Thursday.
The two Arab-Americans who remain jailed are Mohammed Salah, 39, and Mohammed Jarad, 36, both of the Chicago area. They were arrested Jan. 25 and have been ordered held pending an investigation.