Meanwhile, Nasr el-din al-Shaer, a Hamas-backed former minister, said on Friday that al-Ghul's release was a result of Islamic and nationalistic-led efforts, namely the Islamic Jihad movement.

 

Al-Saher also expressed hopes that al-Ghul's release is the first step towards closing the file on political detentions in the West Bank and Gaza.

 

He also said it was a step towards enhancing "national dialogue that will ultimately benefit the Palestinian people".

 

Al-Ghul, who only recently joined the Palestinain Authority, was arrested before dawn on December 14 from his Gaza City home by Hamas police and was being held in Gaza's al-Saraya prison.

 

He had just arrived from the West Bank following the death of his mother-in-law, after having fled Gaza in the wake of Hamas's bloody seizure when it evicted rival Fatah forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.