Israel indicts sister of Hamas leader Haniyeh on terrorism incitement

FILE PHOTO: Palestinian group Hamas' top leader, Ismail Haniyeh and Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian attend a press conference in Tehran

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's State Attorney on Sunday indicted the sister of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on charges of incitement and showing solidarity with a terror group, after she allegedly praised Hamas' Oct. 7 attack that sparked the six-month old war in Gaza.

Sabah al-Salem Haniyeh, 57, lives in the southern Israeli town of Tel Sheva. Her brother is based in Qatar, as are other officials from Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip.

Haniyeh has been held in custody since her arrest on April 1, Israel's justice ministry said. There was no immediate comment from her lawyer.

According to the indictment, in the days after Hamas' Oct. 7 killing spree in southern Israel, Haniyeh sent messages to dozens of contacts, including to her brother, praising the cross-border assault and calling for further "slaughter".

One of her messages mentioned in the indictment includes the line: "Oh God, count them and kill them and don't leave any of them, Oh God."

Hamas killed some 1,200 Israelis and foreigners in the Oct. 7 attack, sparking the war, in which Gaza's health authority says more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Hugh Lawson)