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Israel arrests two Hamas leaders in West Bank
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08:50, November 07, 2007

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Israeli forces arrested two officials from the Islamic Hamas movement, including a lawmaker, in the West Bank early Tuesday, witnesses and Hamas sources said.

In Hebron city, tens of Israeli soldiers stormed the house of Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Hatem Qufaisha and detained the legislator of Hamas background, the witnesses said.

Israel has detained some 40 Palestinian lawmakers, most of them affiliated with Hamas, since June 2006 when Israel carried out the arrest campaign in retaliation to the capturing of an Israeli soldier in Gaza by the Islamic movement.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces nabbed Sheikh Maher al-Kharraz, a senior political leader for Hamas, from his home in the Old City of Nablus.

Early at dawn, Israeli army jeeps and military vehicles surrounded the house and detained the 55-year-old man.

Hamas sources said Palestinian security forces, loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas, had arrested al-Kharraz following Gaza takeover by Hamas in mid June but released him later.

Moreover, five other people were also arrested in Nablus during the pre-dawn incursion.

Palestinian security forces began to deploy in Nablus last week following a deal with Israel. However, the deal stipulates that the Israeli army takes control of the city in the night.

It was the first time that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) redeployed its security forces in the city since Israel reoccupied the city in a large-scale military operation called the Defensive Shield in 2002.

Source: Xinhua

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