GAZA, March 18 (UPI) -- A Palestinian prisoner on a hunger strike arrived in the Gaza Strip after Israel agreed to deport him there for a 10-year period, officials said.
Ayman Sharawna,36, a Hamas operative from the Hebron area in the West Bank, arrived to a hero's welcome Sunday night, the Ma'an news agency said. He went on hunger strike in July of last year and agreed to end it on his arrival to Gaza, the report said.
Sharawna was initially arrested in 2002 and sentenced to 38 years in prison for placing explosives during a Beersheba terror attack in which 18 Israelis were injured, attempting to abduct an Israeli soldier and involvement in a number of shooting attacks against Israelis, the Israel Security Agency said in a statement released Sunday.
In October 2011, Sharawna was set free by Israel in a deal that secured the release of former Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who had been held captive by Hamas in Gaza. In January 2012, Sharawna was again arrested by Israel on charges of resuming terrorist activities and violating parole conditions.
He was sent back to prison to serve the rest of his 38-year sentence and later began his hunger strike, authorities said.
Israel recently agreed to deport him to Gaza for 10 years instead of serving the rest of his sentence in an Israeli prison, the Shin Bet said. Sharawna will be permitted to return in 2023 to the West Bank, where he can travel freely if he agrees not to resume terrorist activities, the Israeli agency said.