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Hamas: West Bank arrests underscore election obstacles

Feb. 12, 2013 6:48 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 13, 2013 8:28 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – The detention of Hamas supporters in the West Bank lays more obstacles before the intended general elections, a party official said Tuesday after Israel launched an arrest sweep.

Mousa Abu Marzouq, deputy chief of the Islamic movement, wrote on his Facebook page that whether it is the Palestinian Authority or Israel detaining Hamas’ leaders and supporters, the move enhances the idea that holding elections under occupation is difficult.

He highlighted that Palestinian security services detained Hamas members "under the pretext of breaching the law and conducting military activities, while Israeli occupation is detaining supporters for political activities and attempts to reactivate Hamas organizations."

Thus, he continued, the Palestinian Authority has a special responsibility and should reconsider its procedures and the accusations they security services cite.

"In light of occupation, detentions by the PA are definitely politically motivated. What else can we call such detentions?"

Israeli forces launched multiple arrest raids overnight Monday against Hamas affiliates in the West Bank, Hamas sources and locals said.

Hamas leader Rafat Jamil Nasif, 45, was detained in Tulkarem in an arrest raid on his home, while students at al-Khadouri university were also arrested in Tulkarem, together with the local Imam's son.

In Nablus, Israeli forces detained a local Islamist student leader Muthanna Jamil Eshtayeh and students Osama Khalid Yamin and Walid Jamal Asida from An-Najah university, locals said.

Mousa Ahmad Yamin and Abed al-Ghani Ayesh Samara were also detained in nearby villages.

Four people were arrested in Qalandiya refugee camp in Ramallah, including two ex-prisoners, and in Hebron two other students were detained.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said that 13 people were detained overnight, including four in Nablus, five in Tulkarem, three in Bethlehem and one in Hebron.

Another military spokesman said nine people arrested were affiliated with Hamas.

The latest detentions follow a sweep of arrests of Hamas-affiliated officials in the West Bank over the past week.

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