Israel agrees to release Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak in return for ending hunger strike
Mahmoud Sarsak has finally gotten his release from prison.

Following international pressure to free Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak, who is at risk of death after going more than three months without solid food, Israel has agreed to release him on 10 July in return for him ending his hunger strike.

Sarsak, 25, was arrested in 2009 as he left the Gaza Strip for a football match. He has been held for the past three years without charge, a trial or contact with his family.

His deteriorating health brought global attention to his case.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel said that Sarsak could die at any time. Israel did not allowed the charity to visit him in Ramle Prison until recently.

Since he went on hunger strike, Sarsak has experienced an extreme loss of muscle tissue and a dramatic weight loss. He frequently loses consciousness and suffers memory lapses.

He has been held under the Unlawful Combatants Law, which allows Israeli authorities to detain Palestinians from Gaza for an unlimited period without trial or charge.

Sarsak rejected a deal with Israel that ended a mass hunger strike on 14 May.

He refuses treatment because he has a "deep distrust" of Israeli prison doctors, who have threatened to force-feed him and tried to persuade him to accept treatment.

As outrage grew about his incarceration, former Manchester United forward Eric Cantona sent a letter to British sports minister Hugh Robertson and Uefa president Michel Platini, saying that Israel should be subjected to the same criticism as Poland and Ukraine, the co-hosts of Euro 2012.

The letter was co-signed by left-wing critic Noam Chomsky and film director Ken Loach.

"It is time to end Israel's impunity and to insist on the same standards of equality, justice and respect for international law that we demand of other states," the letter said.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter urged the Israeli Football Association to intervene in the case, expressing grave concern for Sarsak's health.

Further solidarity was shown by fans in Edinburgh, who cheered for Sarsak at a Scotland-Israel Euro 2013 women's football qualifier. The fans waved Palestinian flags and banners while they shouted "Free Mahmoud Sarsak" and "Free Palestine".

Israeli officials labelled Sarsak an "Islamic Jihad terrorist who planned attacks and bombings".

Meanwhile, a mosque in the West Bank village of Jaba, south of Ramallah, was set on fire in an arson attack.

Unknown vandals sprayed messages such as "The war has begun" and "You will pay the price" on the walls of the mosque.

Israeli defence minister Ehud Barack condemned the attack, calling it "a grave and criminal act meant to harm the fabric of life in the area and distract the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] and the security forces from their missions, which include protecting Israeli citizens in the area".