Ahed Tamimi waves after she visited the tomb of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Picture: Majdi Mohammed/AP
Ahed Tamimi waves after she visited the tomb of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Picture: Majdi Mohammed/AP
Ahed Tamimi, left, and, her mother Nariman are hugged by her father Bassem after they were released by the Israeli army at the entrance of her village of Nebi Saleh in the West Bank. Picture: Nasser Shiyoukhi/AP
Ahed Tamimi, left, and, her mother Nariman are hugged by her father Bassem after they were released by the Israeli army at the entrance of her village of Nebi Saleh in the West Bank. Picture: Nasser Shiyoukhi/AP
Ahed Tamimi is hugged after she was released by the Israel army in her village of Nebi Saleh in the West Bank. Picture: Nasser Shiyoukhi/AP
Ahed Tamimi is hugged after she was released by the Israel army in her village of Nebi Saleh in the West Bank. Picture: Nasser Shiyoukhi/AP
Ahed Tamimi prays at the tomb of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Picture: Majdi Mohammed/AP
Ahed Tamimi prays at the tomb of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Picture: Majdi Mohammed/AP
Palestinian Ahed Tamimi, right is hugged by a relative upon her arrival at their West Bank home village of Nebi Saleh. Picture: Nasser Nasser/AP
Palestinian Ahed Tamimi, right is hugged by a relative upon her arrival at their West Bank home village of Nebi Saleh. Picture: Nasser Nasser/AP
Ahed Tamimi exits an armoured military vehicle as she is released by the Israeli army after serving an eight-month sentence. Picture: Nasser Shiyoukhi/AP
Ahed Tamimi exits an armoured military vehicle as she is released by the Israeli army after serving an eight-month sentence. Picture: Nasser Shiyoukhi/AP
Palestinians hang a poster showing Nariman Tamimi, right and her daughter Ahed, during preparations for their upcoming release from an Israeli prison after serving an eight-month sentence, at the family house in the West Bank village of Nebi Saleh. Picture: Nasser Nasser/AP
Palestinians hang a poster showing Nariman Tamimi, right and her daughter Ahed, during preparations for their upcoming release from an Israeli prison after serving an eight-month sentence, at the family house in the West Bank village of Nebi Saleh. Picture: Nasser Nasser/AP

Tel Av - Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager turned protest symbol who was filmed hitting Israeli soldiers last year, was released early Sunday after serving almost eight months in prison, according to a local official.

Israeli Prison Service spokesman Assaf Librati said Tamimi, 17, and her mother, Nariman, who was also jailed over the incident, had been released and were being taken to the West Bank.

Images shared in Palestinian media showed a teary-eyed Tamimi, with her thick mane of strawberry-blonde curls, embracing her mother after being released

The teenager has been touted by Palestinians as a symbol of resistance to Israel's military occupation while many Israelis accuse her of being an agitator seeking to provoke soldiers on camera.

Her case sparked an outpouring of international criticism against Israel and a renewed focus on the treatment of Palestinian youths in Israeli military courts.

Tamimi is scheduled to speak at a press conference in her West Bank hometown, Nabi Saleh, at 4 pm (1300 GMT).

In a December 2017 video that quickly went viral, the then-16-year-old Tamimi is seen slapping and kicking soldiers in the driveway of her home. She was arrested shortly after and accepted an eight-month plea bargain in March.

She was released early for administrative reasons at the discretion of the Israel Prison Service.

"I have been longing for this moment because I missed them a lot," Tamimi's father, Bassem, told dpa on Thursday.

Bassem said that his family is seeking "to continue normal life" and has stopped the weekly anti-occupation protests in Nabi Saleh where confrontations with Israeli soldiers are common.

However, he added, sometimes "the occupation forces you to resist because there is no other way." 

He said his daughter is considering what university to attend and plans to study law.

Israeli police arrested two Italian artists and their Palestinian colleague who were attempting to paint a mural of Tamimi on a section of wall that separates the West Bank from Israel on Saturday, an Israeli police spokesman confirmed Sunday.