IDF raid in Hebron.
(photo credit: screenshot)
Israeli security forces arrested two Hamas leaders in the West Bank early Wednesday morning, the Shin Bet confirmed.
The IDF released a statement saying that troops arrested suspects wanted for security-related offenses in Kalandiya, al-Bireh and Hebron, and that the three were handed over to the Shin Bet for questioning.
Ahmed Atun, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and Fayez Abu Wardeh, a Hamas leader, were arrested at their homes in the Ramallah and Hebron areas in the West Bank. The other Palestinian was arrested in Kalandiya and is suspected of throwing rocks at vehicles on West Bank roads and taking part in violent protests against Israeli troops, the statement added.
According to the Shin Bet, Atun and Wardeh were arrested for their role in Hamas-related activities, without elaborating.
Atun, a native of east Jerusalem, had been previously arrested by Israeli security personnel for his involvement in Hamas politics. He was exiled to the West Bank in 2011 following his release from prison.
Ali Qarawi, a Hamas lawmaker from the West Bank, told al-Risalah, a Hamas-affiliated news site, that the arrests are “unacceptable” and “encourage Israel to perpetrate more massacres... against our people, especially in the occupied West Bank.”
Two days ago, the IDF also arrested Ma’an Fukha, the brother of Mazan Fukha, the senior Hamas military official who was assassinated in the Gaza Strip two weeks ago.
According to the Shin Bet, Fukha was arrested in the West Bank city of Tubas, east of Nablus, due to his illegal residency status.
Israeli security forces, including the Shin Bet intelligence agency, IDF and police have been carrying out near-nightly raids in the West Bank and have been recently cracking down on Hamas lawmakers.
In late March, Rafat Nasif, a member of Hamas’s political leadership, was arrested for Hamas-related activities in the area of his residence.
Hamas MP Samira Halayka was also arrested last month in Hebron.
According to a joint report released by Palestinian prisoners’ rights organizations, there are 12 other Palestinian lawmakers currently detained in Israeli prisons, including at least five detained by Israel last month.
According to a recent report by Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, and Addameer, as of January some 6,500 Palestinians have been held in Israeli prisons.Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.