Israel released a member of the Palestinian national soccer team on Tuesday after holding him in jail without trial for three years, during which he staged an intermittent four-month hunger strike in protest, Palestinian officials said.
Mahmoud Sarsak, 25, alleged by Israel to have been active in the Islamic Jihad militant group, received a hero's welcome on his return home to Islamist-ruled Gaza.
Soccer legend Eric Cantona and other international figures had signed a letter drawing attention to Sarsak's plight. Sepp Blatter, president of world soccer's governing body FIFA, also wrote to the Israeli soccer authorities to seek their help.
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