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Freed Palestinian prisoner reunited with fiancée after 18 years

The couple now look forward to spending the rest of their lives together

Palestinian Abdul Karim Mukhdar was reunited with his fiancée for the first time in 18 years after being released from Israeli occupation jails yesterday.

As the 49-year-old stepped out of the car at the Jalama checkpoint near the occupied city of Jenin, 44-year-old Jinan Samara ran to greet him.

Jinan, from the village of Broqin, west of Salfit, said: "Two years after I graduated from Al-Quds Open University, Abdul Karim Mukhdar came and asked for my hand from my family, and that was in June 2002. At the time, the Second Intifada was raging in the West Bank, and the Israeli occupation forces were pursuing Abdel Karim claiming he was carrying out 'hostile activities' and was wanted by its forces. His name and photo were published on all checkpoints on the streets of the West Bank."

READ: Palestinian prisoner launches hunger strike as Israel refuses to release him

At the end of September 2002, three months after their religious marriage ceremony had taken place, as Abdul Karim prepared to leave Nablus after midnight, an Israeli occupation Jeep stopped him, an officer checked his ID card and said: "Abdul Karim Mukhdar has come to us of his own accord."

"Since that day I have not shaken hands with Abdul Karim, 18 years have passed since his arrest and his transfer between all Israeli prisons. I visit him once a month for 45 minutes only, and we talk through the phone and glass separates us. I see him but cannot shake his hand or touch him," Jinan explained, adding: "There is no privacy."

The couple now look forward to spending the rest of their lives together.

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