Mosab Abu Toha, a Palestinian-born poet, was arrested by Israeli authorities in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, several media outlets reported.
Attorney Diana Buttu told The Washington Post on Monday that Toha was arrested by Israeli officials when he, along with his family, tried to flee southern Gaza. Toha was arrested at a checkpoint along with about 200 other people, Buttu said.
Toha recently returned to his home country after completing his graduate studies in the US, according to the Post.
Toha’s colleagues said the poet is currently being held by Israeli authorities.
“It’s very scary,” writer Laura Albast, a friend and colleague of Toha, told the newspaper. “We don’t know where he is.”
Buttu also said Toha had been in contact with the US government for the past few weeks in an effort to get permission to evacuate his family from the war-torn country.
One of Toha’s three children, Mostafa, 3, was born in the US and is a US citizen, the Post reported.
In a statement to the Post, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces said it was looking into the matter.
The difficulty comes as Toha, 30, has gained acclaim in recent years for her work as a poet, with her work published in major publications such as The New Yorker and The New York Times.
Toha, who founded an English-language library in the territory, was also named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards earlier this year for her 2022 collection, “Things You Can See Hiding in My Ear: Poems from in Gaza.”
The New Yorker, which published Toha’s first-person essay earlier this month about daily life in the besieged territory of Gaza, issued a statement in its daily newsletter calling for Toha’s safe return. in the US, the Post said.
“Palestinian poet @MosabAbuToha lives with his wife and three children in Gaza. Over the weekend, Israeli forces reportedly detained Abu Toha in central Gaza,” the publication wrote in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “The New Yorker has joined other organizations in calling for his safe return.”
A month has passed since the surprise attack by Hamas against Israel, which resulted in the death of 1,200 people and taking about 240 hostages.
In response, Israel launched a series of airstrikes and a ground invasion of Gaza, resulting in the deaths of at least 13,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.
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