Sheikh Hassan Yousef.
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
Israeli security forces arrested a senior Hamas leader in the West Bank, Hassan Yousef, on Wednesday morning, an IDF spokesman said.
Yousef’s arrest came just over three months after Israel released him from prison, where he was held for nearly two years under administrative detention.
A Shin Bet spokesman said Yousef, one of Hamas’s founders, was detained for his “involvement in advancing and promoting Hamas activities” in the West Bank, without elaborating.
The IDF spokesman added that 31 other Palestinians in the West Bank were arrested early Wednesday morning as well for “involvement in terrorist activities... and violent rioting.”
The 63-year-old Yousef, whose family’s home is located in a suburb of Ramallah, has spent almost a third of his life in prison.
One of his sons, Mosab Hassan Yousef
, known as the “Green Prince” – who became a Christian and worked with the Shin Bet to prevent attacks on Israeli civilians – spoke at The Jerusalem Post
Annual Conference in New York in May 2016.
On Sunday, Yousef called for “intensifying the Jerusalem intifada... to take down Trump’s decision,” referring to US President Donald Trump’s changes to American policy on Jerusalem, according to Hamas’s official website.
Last week, the American president recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiated the relocation of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to the Holy City. However, Trump stated he was not taking a position on the final status of Jerusalem, which he said Israel and the Palestinians would decide in future peace talks.
Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif al-Qanou slammed Israel for the arrests it carried out on Wednesday morning.
“This [arrests] campaign reflects the extent of the occupation’s fear of angry responses to the American decision at the expense of Jerusalem,” Qanou said, according to the Hamas-linked Palestinian Information Center.
Since Trump’s decisions last week, a number of small protests and clashes between the IDF and young Palestinians have taken place around the West Bank and along the Gaza Strip’s border fence with Israel.