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Netanyahu 'looking forward' to US release of spy Pollard

29 july 2015, 12:58

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday welcomed news of the impending release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard after 30 years in a US prison, AFP reports.

"After decades of effort, Jonathan Pollard will finally be released," Netanyahu's office quoted him as saying.

"Throughout his time in prison, I consistently raised the issue of his release in my meetings and conversations with the leadership of successive US administrations. We are looking forward to his release."

Pollard, a former US Navy intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel, will be released on parole on November 21, his lawyers said earlier.

The decision caps a sensational case that has troubled relations between the United States and its closest Middle East ally since his arrest for passing secrets to the Jewish state in 1985.

"Thirty years of suffering will come to an end this November; not though kindness but through the law," Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked wrote in Hebrew on Facebook.

"Not because of the devastating agreement between the United States and Iran but because of the law," she added, alluding to speculation that Pollard's release was intended as an olive branch to Israel, which was angered by the nuclear deal reached by the US and other world powers with Iran earlier this month.

US Secretary of State John Kerry also denied Pollard's release was linked in any way to the July 14 nuclear deal, which Israel vehemently opposed.

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