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Fear of 'new campaign' against Hamas members

Jan. 11, 2011 11:48 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 12, 2011 1:34 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma’an) -- Israel detained the former Palestinian finance minister overnight in the West Bank district of Salfit, the second Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council to be detained in two weeks.

Omar Mahmoud Matar Matar, known locally as Omar Abdul Raziq, was detained in the raid on his house at 1:30 a.m. in the northern district, according to Hamas officials, PA security, and PLC member Muna Mansour from Salfit.

PLC member Muna Mansour told Ma'an that the arrest raid took place at 1:30 a.m. She said troops searched the home and confiscated his mobile phone and laptop.

"We fear that Israel is beginning a new campaign to detain Hamas leaders," she said, referring to a 2006 campaign during which eight members of the Hamas cabinet, the speaker of the PLC, and over 20 legislators affiliated with Hamas were detained over a three-week period.

Abdel Razik was released in April 2008 when a judge determined he had served enough time in prison.

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed the arrest.

A separate announcement said the two were detained overnight and taken for questioning, noting that they were both "wanted for terrorist activity." A spokesman said only one was detained in Salfit.

Nightly raids target prominent Hamas members

On Friday, a case of misidentification by Israeli soldiers on an arrest campaign caused the uncle of a Hamas member to be shot to death in his bed. The military said it regretted the incident.

On Monday, Israeli forces detained four Hamas affiliates from Dura, two of them relatives of a detained PLC minister. The 20-year-old son of PLC member Sheikh Naif Rajoub as well as his 53-year-old brother were detained.

An Israeli military statement issued at the time said Palestinians "suspected of terrorist activity" were taken into military custody overnight and later transferred for security questioning.

In December, Israeli forces detained Hamas lawmaker Muhammad At-Tal from his home south of the West Bank city of Hebron. Soldiers searched At-Tal's home in Ad-Dhahiriya before detaining him.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed At-Tal's arrest but could not immediately specify the reason for his detention.

At-Tal was previously detained by Israel in June 2006, and released one year ago, on December 27 2009.
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