Israel releases spy and murderer in ‘gesture of goodwill’ to Syria

Prisoners Sidqi al-Maqt and Amal Abu Saleh were released to their hometown of Majdal Shams in the Syrian Golan Heights.

By World Israel News Staff

A spy and a man convicted of murder were released to their hometown in the Syrian Golan Heights by the Israeli government on Friday as a “gesture of goodwill” to the Syrian government.

Sidqi al-Maqt, from the Druze town of Majdal Shams, was arrested in 2015 and sentenced in 2017 to 14 years in prison for passing photographs and written reports of IDF positions to Syrian intelligence.

“Security prisoner Sidqi Al-Maqt will be released tomorrow before the scheduled end of his imprisonment,” Israeli prison officials said in a statement on Thursday.

Amal Abu Saleh, from the same town, was sentenced in 2017 for killing a Syrian national who was being taken to an Israeli hospital.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the prisoners were released as a political gesture of goodwill to the Syrian government for returning the remains of IDF soldier Zachary Baumel last year.

Baumel went missing during the Sultan Yacoub battle between the Israeli army and Syrian forces during Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. His remains were returned to Israel with the help of the Russian government on April 3, 2019, and laid to rest the day after in a service attended by thousands of people.

Shortly after Baumel’s return, Israel released prisoners Nashit Ahmed and Zidan Tawil. Ahmed was arrested 14 years ago for trying to infiltrate an Israeli army base and attack soldiers; Tawil is a resident of a Golan Heights village who was arrested on drug charges.