Hamas has congratulated Japanese freedom-fighter Fusako Shigenobu "Maryam", who fought against the Zionist occupation, on her freedom.

Iran PressMiddle East: The Hamas movement congratulated Japanese freedom fighter Fusako Shigenobu on her release from prison on Saturday, May 28. Fusako Shigenobu is the founder of the now-disbanded Japanese Red Army and fought alongside the Palestinian revolution against the Israeli occupation.

Hamas spokesperson Jihad Taha stated that Shigenobu’s support for Palestine would forever be recorded alongside all the honorable and free people of the world that supported the just Palestinian cause and the rights of the downtrodden Palestinian people against the fascist, racist, and criminal occupation.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine congratulated Shigenobu earlier on Saturday on her freedom following two decades of imprisonment. The PFLP noted in a statement: “The Palestinian people will never forget the sacrifices of this freedom fighter and her comrades in the Japanese Red Army for Palestine and the cause. Their revolutionary and humane principles, and their anti-imperialist sentiment, led them to join the ranks of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and fight alongside its freedom fighters.”

the statement pointed out: “Freedom Fighter Shigenobu is worthy of being among the international freedom fighters who worked alongside martyred freedom fighter and author Ghassan Kanafani on Al-Hadaf Magazine, the PFLP’s official magazine, in addition to her effort in participating in the making of movies and media-related materials to the PFLP and Palestine and translating the PFLP’s statements and documents to Japanese”. The organization also hailed the Japanese Red Army for the Al-Lydd Airport operation, which was carried out in 1972.

Member of the General Central Committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Leila Khaled, called Fusako Shigenobu on Monday, May 30, after her freedom.

During the phone call, Leila Khaled congratulated Fusako Shigenobu on her liberation, conveying to her the PFLP’s pride in the Japanese Pro-Palestinian activist struggle. Shigenobu, on her part, sent her warm greetings to all the comrades in the PFLP while praising Khaled’s phone call.

Shigenobu, 76, was released after spending over two decades behind bars in Japan over allegations of having a hand in the siege imposed on the French Embassy in The Hague in 1974. Shigenobu left the prison in Tokyo in a black car with her daughter as several supporters held a banner saying: “We love Fusako”. She traveled to Lebanon in 1971 and founded the Japanese Red Army, which linked up with Palestinian fighters to become an implacable foe of the Israeli regime.

Shigenobu is believed to have masterminded the 1972 machinegun and grenade attack on Tel Aviv’s Lod Airport, which killed 26 and wounded 80 others. Member Kozo Okamoto, who was wounded and captured in the Israel's airport attack, was released in 1985 in a prisoner exchange between Israel and Palestinian forces. He is reportedly in Lebanon. Okamoto and several other group members are still wanted by Japanese authorities.

The Japanese Red Army also took responsibility for the takeover of the US consulate in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1975. After bombing a US military facility in Naples, Italy, in 1988, the Japanese Red Army conducted no more major attacks and faded from view in Japan.

Shigenobu was the former soy-sauce company worker who turned fighter; she was arrested in Japan in 2000 and sentenced to 20 years behind bars six years later for her part in a siege of the French embassy in the Netherlands. She had lived as a fugitive in different Middle East regions for 30 years before resurfacing in Japan.


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