The eldest serving Palestinian freedom fighter, Major General Fouad Shobaki, 63, was released from prison today after completing 17 years behind bars, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society.
Shobaki, whose name was linked to the Karen A ship hijacked by Israeli units in the Red Sea on January 3, 2002, was born on March 12, 1940, in Gaza, in al-Tuffah neighborhood.
He is considered the eldest among the more than 4500 Palestinian freedom fighters incarcerated in Israel for their resistance of its occupation.
Shobaki is a member of Fatah and a major general in the Palestinian security forces and was responsible for the central military financial administration in the Palestinian security services.
On January 3, 2002, the Israeli occupation army carried out a military operation called Operation Noah's Ark with the aim of commandeering the Karen A ship in the Red Sea, claiming that the ship was carrying military equipment for the Palestinians and was considered the mastermind in financing and smuggling the arms ship.
Shobaki was grabbed by the Israeli occupation forces on March 14, 2006, while held at Jericho Central Prison following an Israeli army raid of the prison and was sentenced to 20 years in prison later reduced to 17 years after he was found guilty by an Israeli military court of attempting to smuggle arms into the Palestinian territories.
He suffers from many health problems, in his eyes, stomach, heart, and high blood pressure and recently had to rely on fellow inmates to meet his physical needs.
His wife died in 2011 and he was forbidden to say goodbye to her. He has six children and nine grandchildren, most of whom he does not know.
For his part President Mahmoud Abbas, along with a number of Palestinian key officials, received this evening at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah, the eldest serving Palestinian freedom fighter, Major General Fouad Shobaki, who was released from prison today after completing 17 years behind bars.
The president congratulated Shobaki and his family on his release after serving 17 years in Israeli jails.
President Abbas affirmed that the issue of prisoners occupies a special place in the priorities of the Palestinian leadership, which seeks the release of all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.