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Israel arrests Hamas-affiliates in Nablus, locals say

Feb. 5, 2013 12:11 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 7, 2013 8:40 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces arrested 12 people including at least three Hamas-affiliates early Tuesday in raids across the West Bank.

Local Hamas leader and Imam in Asira al-Qibliya, 53-year-old Dirar Ahmad Mohammad Hamadneh, was detained in an arrest raid, witnesses told Ma'an.

Zaher Sidqi Mousa and Shadad Shaher Abu Amsha, said to be Hamas members, were detained from their homes in west Nablus and taken to an unknown location.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said 12 people were arrested overnight for "illegal activity", without providing further details. Four were detained in Nablus, five in Ramallah and three in Hebron, she said.

Locals said Ezz al-Deen Abu Tabaneh, Muhab al-Junidi and Azzam al-Salaymeh were detained in Hebron.

Israeli forces also briefly detained 15-year-old Abdul-Fatah Ghaith and 8-year-old Ayman Rajeh Ghaith in Hebron, but they were released within hours after Palestinian liaison officials intervened, locals told Ma'an.

Soldiers also raided several homes belonging to the Daajneh family in Yatta in the southern West Bank, but no arrests were reported.

The latest detentions follow a sweep of arrests of Hamas-affiliated officials in the West Bank overnight Sunday, including three Palestinian MPs.

Hamas said in a statement that the three lawmakers -- Ahmed Attoun in al-Bireh, Hatem Qafisha in Hebron and Mohammed al-Tal in al-Dhahiriyya -- had been detained in the early hours of the morning, labeling the detentions a "criminal act."

Twelve other Hamas officials were seized in the raids overnight Sunday, as well as several Palestinians not holding a political position, according to local sources.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said 25 Palestinians were arrested, including 23 members of the Islamist group.

PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said the arrests were an Israeli intrusion into internal Palestinian politics.

"It is apparent the Israeli government is implementing a policy of intimidation and power politics to meddle in Palestinian domestic affairs and to undermine reconciliation efforts," she said in a statement.

Israel holds 4,743 Palestinians in its prisons, including 178 held without charge, according to latest figures from prisoners group Addameer.

The Palestinian Authority says 15 MPs are currently detained in Israel jails.
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