Page last updated at 11:36 GMT, Monday, 4 August 2008 12:36 UK

Israel releases Hamas ex-minister

Hamas celebrations after 2006 election victory
Abdelrazek was given the finance brief after the 2006 Hamas election victory

A minister for the Hamas group in the former Palestinian government, Omar Abdelrazek, has been freed after two years in Israeli custody, reports say.

Mr Abdelrazek served as finance minister in the Hamas-led administration installed in 2006.

He was among a large group of Hamas politicians seized by Israel in June 2006, accused of membership of a terrorist organisation.

He was not charged with an offence or put on trial during his detention.

Mr Abdelrazek was released overnight from Megiddo prison in northern Israel, a Palestinian security official said.

The Palestinian Centre for Prisoner Studies says 48 Palestinian members of parliament or former ministers remain in Israeli custody, most of whom are members of Hamas.

Mr Abdelrazek, a prominent West Bank economics professor, was one of more than two dozen Hamas MPs and ministers detained after gunmen from Gaza captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in a cross-border raid.

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