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Irish Man Detained by Israel is not a bomb maker

Irish Man Detained by Israel Peace Activist, not Bomb Maker

Relatives and Friends of a Northern Ireland man arrested by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) for suspicion of helping Palestinians in bomb making said Monday he is a pro-Palestinian peace activist with no links to armed anti-occupation activities.

Israeli security sources said Sunday troops had arrested an Irish man, identified as John Morgan, who they suspected was a bomb maker in the West Bank.

However, the Belfast branch of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) said Morgan was a member of the group, adding that they have not heard from John Morgan since Saturday, the day he was arrested by IOF.

“It’s preposterous. We believe this is mistaken identity. They’ve picked up an Irishman, he’s from Belfast, and maybe they’ve put two and two together and got 16,” Kathleen Connell, secretary of the IPSC in Belfast, told Reuters.

Connell said Morgan -- who is known in Belfast as Sean O Muireagain, the Irish spelling of his name -- was arrested near the reoccupied West Bank city of Ramallah as he traveled to Bethlehem.

She said he had traveled to the Middle East a couple of weeks ago to make contacts for a school-twinning project.

“Sean is a member of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, he's been a member for the past two or three years, he's been active in Belfast for many years as a cultural activist and an Irish language activist,” she said.

“He's got no connection, as far as I know, with south Armagh or Newry or any of the places that have been mentioned in the newspapers that this supposed bombmaker is supposed to come from.”

Morgan is also a known journalist and teacher who lives in Belfast and works in promoting Gaelic language and culture.

He is involved in several educational projects and in La, a Gaelic newspaper. Just two weeks ago he was featured in the local Anderson’s Town News, which reported on his cultural preservation work.

He is also a member of a pro-Palestinian organization known as the Irish-Palestinian
Solidarity Movement, a Belfast branch of the International Solidarity Movement, which sends non-violence volunteers to the occupied territories.

Since his arrest Saturday his family and friends have heard nothing from him and Israeli
authorities have spurned their efforts to get official information.

The British foreign ministry said it had asked Israel to allow a consular official to see the arrested man.


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