U.S. hiker freed by Iran has Israeli father
For more than two years, relatives of Joshua Fattal, one of the two American hikers freed from prison in Iran last week, managed to hide a vital piece of information from his captors: Fattal's family is Israeli, Haaretz reported.
Jacob Fattal, Josh's father, immigrated to Israel from Basra, Iraq in 1951. After his military service, he left for the United States, where he studied engineering and raised a family. Today, he is the publisher of a high-tech magazine distributed in the United States, Europe and Asia.
"We're very happy; it's the greatest gift we could have dreamed of receiving for Rosh Hashanah," Jacob Fattal told Haaretz on Monday.
To avoid drawing attention to the family's background, Josh's brother and mother led the campaign to free him, while Jacob refrained from giving media interviews.
"I want to thank the media in the United States and Israel for cooperating with us," Fattal said.
Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, both 28, and Sarah Shourd, 32, were detained in 2009 after crossing an unmarked stretch of the Iran-Iraq border. They were charged by Iran's Revolutionary Court with illegally crossing the border and espionage and sentenced to eight-year prison terms.
Shourd was released in September, 2010 on health grounds after posting 500,000 dollars in bail, and returned to the United States.
Fattal and Bauer were freed last week on $1 million bail, following mediation by Sultan Qaboos of Oman.