Israeli authorities have released Jordanian Member of Parliament Imad al-Adwan, Jordan’s foreign ministry said, after he was held on suspicion of smuggling weapons and gold into the occupied West Bank nearly two weeks ago.
“The process of handing over MP Imad Al-Adwan by the Israeli authorities to the concerned Jordanian security authorities has begun on the King Hussein Bridge,” read a statement from the ministry, referring to the main border crossing connecting the Palestinian territory to Jordan.
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A foreign ministry spokesperson later confirmed to Al Jazeera that the lawmaker has been released.
Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency said in a statement that al-Adwan was arrested on April 22 while carrying 12 rifles and 194 pistols in his car at an Israeli-controlled border crossing.
It added that its investigation revealed that al-Adwan carried out 12 separate smuggling attempts since early 2022 using his diplomatic passport to bring in contraband that ranged from electronic cigarettes to gold to birds.
Since the start of the year, he made numerous arms-smuggling trips in exchange for unspecified amounts of money, the Shin Bet said.
The agency said he was released for “further investigation and pursuit of justice” by Jordanian authorities.
The Jordanian speaker of parliament said al-Adwan’s parliamentary immunity had been revoked, meaning he could face prosecution. A Jordanian security source told Reuters news agency the case will be brought to trial.
Al-Adwan’s arrest threatened to further strain ties between Israel and Jordan, which were already tense despite a peace treaty that is nearly 30 years old.
Israel has close security ties with Jordan, with which it shares its longest border, but relations soured in recent years over Israel’s construction of illegal settlements in occupied land, its violent raids on Palestinians in the West Bank and its discriminatory policies in holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Jordan controlled the West Bank and East Jerusalem before Israel captured the areas in the 1967 war, but the kingdom retains custodianship of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and other Muslim holy sites in the Old City.
Since Israel’s hardline government took office late last year, relations with Jordan have deteriorated. Israel claims the West Bank is awash with weapons, including guns smuggled from Jordan.