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Israeli forces detain MPs around West Bank

Nov. 23, 2012 10:57 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 24, 2012 7:09 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces detained at least five members of the Palestinian parliament in the West Bank who are affiliated to Hamas, among 28 Palestinians detained at dawn Friday.

In Ramallah, soldiers detained the secretary-general of the Palestinian Legislative Council Mahmoud al-Ramahi.

MP Basem Zairir was detained in Samua, south of Hebron, along with other leaders in the Change and Reform party, which is affiliated to Hamas, Nidal Oref Zairi and Jamal Yusuf Musa Abu Jaydal.

In Tulkarem, forces detained two lawmakers, Fathi Qarawi and Riyad Radid. Another MP, Emad Nofal, was seized in Qalqiliya.

A prominent Hamas figure was also detained in Bethlehem, 50-year-old Mustafa Issa Musa al-Aruj.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said 28 Palestinians were detained in the West Bank overnight.

Four MPs were detained in a joint police-Shin Bet-army operation as they "attempted to rehabilitate Hamas infrastructure in the region posing a clear threat to safety and stability," she said.

In Nablus, Israeli vehicles deployed around the city and detained 25-year-old Baha Mahmud Marshoud, who is a Fatah member, after raiding his house in Balata refugee camp.

In Azzun, east of Qalqiliya, Israeli forces detained Seif Hisham Odwan, and Aref Samer Shbeta who are affiliated to Fatah.

Arrest sweeps

The seizure of the group of MPs came 24 hours after the Israeli army launched an arrest sweep throughout the West Bank, citing "recent violent and terrorist activity."

Forces detained 55 Palestinians in the West Bank on Wednesday night, hours after Israel agreed a truce with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza to end eight days of deadly fighting.

At protests in the West Bank during the conflict, two Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire. Israel said it was carrying out arrests to "restore calm," and also blamed West Bank Jihad and Hamas members for recruiting a Palestinian citizen of Israel to bomb a bus in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

The bomb, which wounded 15 people, was detonated by a resident of Taybe in Israel, and police said he was a Hamas member.

Prisoners rights group Addameer said on Thursday it had documented more than 200 detentions by Israel in the West Bank since the bombardment of Gaza started, including scores at protests against the war.

In one case, Addameer said, a man had been knocked unconscious, and was still detained by forces.

"The arbitrary arrests of Palestinian youth is unacceptable... We demand the immediate release of these prisoners of conscience, and an end to this practice," Addameer said.

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