Israel released 14-year-old Ahmad Al-Salayme from prison and he was reunited with his family, where he ate his favorite meal cooked by his mother in the company of relatives, Anadolu Agency reports.
As part of a prisoner exchange deal, Tuesday, between Hamas and Israel, 30 Palestinians, including 15 women and 15 children, were released from Israeli prisoners in exchange for 10 Israeli women and children in the Gaza Strip.
Ahmad, the youngest Palestinian released in the agreement, returned home, along with his two cousins, aged 15 and 16, to the Ras Al-Amud neighborhood in Occupied East Jerusalem.
Before the release of the prisoners, Israeli police were deployed around the Selayme family’s home, where they conducted raids on apartments in the family’s house. Hours later, Ahmad, who was arrested by Israel in May, reunited with his family, whom he had not seen for months.
Ahmad’s mother, Sahar Mansur Al-Salayme, told Anadolu that Ahmad was arrested in May for throwing stones at Jews in illegal Jewish settlements in Occupied East Jerusalem and that the family could not communicate after 5 October.
Expressing that she prepared the most beloved meals for her son, she said:
I am very happy that my son is free. But this captive exchange came at a very high cost. Thousands of martyrs, thousands of people are displaced in the cold from their homes. Hopefully, the war will come to an end
Al-Salayme said no one is safe in Palestine, noting that 150 Palestinian prisoners have been released, but Israel has detained more than 3,200 Palestinians since 7 October.
From house arrest to prison
Ahmad’s father, Navaf Al-Salayme, said his son went from house arrest to prison.
As a former prisoner, I couldn’t visit my son. Because his mother has a West Bank ID, she couldn’t visit him, either. Despite being the youngest Palestinian prisoner during his time in prison, we couldn’t visit him
he said in a statement.
Pointing out the cut-off in communication with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisoners after 7 October, he expressed concerns during that time. “In the face of news about increased pressure, torture and humiliation in the prisons, we anxiously awaited.”
After his son turned 14, Ahmad’s father shared that he turned him to the Damon Prison, where he had been 30 years ago. He said: “I am very happy that my son Ahmad is free. But this joy is incomplete; this joy is heart-breaking. My son, the youngest Palestinian prisoner, walked towards freedom over the blood of the 15,000 martyrs in the Gaza Strip.”
Child prisoner Ahmad longed for his mother, family and friends in prison
Ahmad said the situation in prison worsened after 7 October, noting that he learned about his release hours before it happened. He indicated that prisoners were provided two meals a day and described recently that all communication with the outside world was cut off, and legal proceedings were halted.
He expressed that he missed his mother and family the most and wanted to see his school friends as soon as possible.
A ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas for a “humanitarian pause” of four days took effect 24 November.
As part of the prisoner exchange deal, 61 Israeli prisoners, one male from the Gaza Strip, and the rest women and children, as well as 180 Palestinian women and children from Israeli prisoners, have so far been released.
On 27 November, Qatar announced the extension of the “humanitarian pause” for an additional two days, as a result of mediation efforts.