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Israel releases senior Hamas member, speaker of now-defunct Palestinian parliament
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) ¯¯¯ Hamas says Israel has released one of the Islamic militant movement's most senior members, the speaker of the now-defunct Palestinian parliament.
Baha Mahmoud, an aide, says Abdel Aziz Dweik, 64, was freed Thursday after serving six months without charges. Israel's military had no comment.
Hamas defeated the Fatah movement of internationally backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2006 parliament elections. After the vote, Israel began arresting Hamas legislators in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, occupied lands under Israeli control.
Hamas says 17 of the movement's 45 West Bank legislators are currently in prison. Dweik previously served 33 months of a three-year sentence for belonging to Hamas, considered a terror organization by Israel and the West.
The Palestinian parliament stopped functioning after Hamas seized Gaza from Abbas in 2007.