A former aide to Yasser Arafat and the oldest Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli jail was released on Monday after serving 17 years for arms smuggling, according to local media reports.

Fuad Shubaki, 83, was released from Ashkelon prison and was being transferred to Palestinian Authority-controlled Ramallah beyond the Green Line, said the reports.

Shubaki, a senior member of P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction, was sentenced for his role in attempting to smuggle weapons from Iran to the Gaza Strip aboard the Karine A.

The ship, seized by Israeli forces in 2002, was carrying 50 tons of weapons, including Katyusha rockets and anti-tank missiles, supplied by Iran and its Lebanon-based terror proxy Hezbollah.

Shubaki dealt with financial affairs for then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and was convicted of purchasing the weapons through a foreign agent.

He was first detained by Palestinian security forces in 2002 and held in Jericho under U.S. and British supervision.

In 2006, the prison was raided by Israeli forces and Shubaki was taken to Israel, where he was tried in a military court and sentenced to two decades in jail.

His sentence was later reduced to 17 years.


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