(photo credit: AP [File])
Israeli soldiers detained the Palestinian Authority deputy prime minister early Saturday, the latest step in an ongoing crackdown against the ruling Hamas party.
Troops burst into the home of Nasser Shaer around 4:30 a.m. and took him away, said the deputy prime minister's wife, Huda.
She said her husband did not often sleep at home since the Israeli crackdown on Hamas officials in June.
The largest arrest operation took place on June 30, when the IDF arrested 64 Hamas officials. The move came in response to the kidnapping of Cpl. Gilad Shalit four days earlier by a group associated with the Hamas.
The June raid was an attempt to pressure the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government to release the hostage.
Four members of the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Cabinet and some 28 lawmakers are in Israeli custody. Four other ministers have been detained and released.
The latest arrest could jeopardize the flimsy unity government that was in the making this week between Hamas and Fatah.