Prisoners released by Israel celebrate upon their arrival.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday praised the Israeli security services for their overnight roundup of dozens of Palestinians, including 50 Hamas operatives, in the West Bank search for three kidnapped Jewish teens.
The IDF arrested 64 Palestinians in overnight raids across the West Bank on Wednesday, including 50 former Hamas prisoners who had been released by Israel in the Schalit exchange in 2011.
"I wish to extend my congratulations to the troops and commanders of the IDF and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) for the complex operations that they carried out overnight," Netanyahu tweeted on his Twitter account.
"The operation overnight in which Hamas terrorists were arrested, including those released in the prisoner swap for Gilad Schalit, is an element that carries with it an important message," the prime minister wrote on his Twitter account. "This is all part of a series of many operations that will continue, and their goal is to retrieve the kidnapped youngsters and strike a blow to Hamas in Judea and Samaria."
The prisoners had signed a document on their release vowing to live up to a set of conditions, which they have since violated, a senior security source stated.
The former prisoners, all members of Hamas, were selected by the Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency] for arrest.
"We acted across the West Bank overnight," the source said.
Security forces also shut down the Al-Aqsa radio station, raiding its offices in Ramallah and transmitter in Hebron. The raid also targeted nine Hamas charity centers.
Some 240 Palestinians gave been taken into custody since the start of the kidnapping crisis last week, and 800 locations have been searched.
Early on Wednesday, soldiers from three infantry brigade - Kfri, Nahal, and the Paratroopers raided addresses in Kabatia, Jenin, Tzufrir, Bet Awa, and several other locations in the West Bank.
There were "some clashes" in Jenin, the source said, adding that for the most part the raids passed off without serious incident.