Prominent Palestinian Poet Arrested, Questioned Following Contact With Terrorists at Gaza IDF Says

News of the arrest prompts alarm among writers’ groups such as PEN International

AP/Abed Khaled
Palestinians on donkey carts hold up white flags while fleeing Gaza City Wednesday. AP/Abed Khaled

A prominent Palestinian poet said to be missing by American press outlets and international writers’ groups was detained by Israeli forces in Gaza this week after being in contact with terrorists in the region and released after questioning, an official with the Israel Defense Forces tells the New York Sun.

The New Yorker says Mosab Abu Toha, who has contributed both poems and essays about life in Gaza for the magazine, was arrested in central Gaza over the weekend and his “whereabouts are now unknown.”

News of his arrest prompted alarm among international writers’ groups such as PEN International, which Monday said it was “deeply concerned” about his status and demanded to know “his whereabouts and the reasons for his detention” in a post on Twitter.  

The IDF, however, tells the Sun he has already been released.

“During IDF operations in the Gaza Strip, there was intelligence indicating of a number of interactions between several civilians and terror organizations inside the Gaza Strip,” the IDF says. “The civilians, among them Mosab Abu Toha, were taken into questioning. After the questioning, he was released.”

In a Facebook post Monday, Mr. Abu Toha’s brother, Hamza Abu Toha, said his brother was traveling from the northern section of the Gaza strip with his wife and two children when he was arrested.

“His wife and children entered the south, and the army arrested my brother Mosab,” Hamza Abu Toha said. “We have no information about him. It is worth mentioning that the American embassy sent him and his family to travel through the Rafah crossing.”In a statement Tuesday morning, PEN said it was “relieved” that Mr. Abu Toha has been released and reunited with his family.

The New York Sun

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