Israel arrests Hamas lawmaker in West Bank

AFP , Thursday 16 Jun 2011

Israeli forces arrest Hamas lawmaker Samir Al-Qadi Thursday, marking the 15th overnight detention since October

Israeli troops on Thursday arrested a lawmaker from the Palestinian Hamas movement in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, Israeli and Palestinian sources said.

Samir Al-Qadi was the 15th Hamas lawmaker to be detained by Israeli forces in the past eight months, and the sixth to be held since Hamas signed a surprise deal with its long-time Palestinian political rival Fatah.

Palestinian security forces said Qadi was detained overnight at his home in Hebron, adding that he had previously spent three and a half years in an Israeli prison before being released in November 2009.

The Israeli military confirmed it had arrested Qadi overnight, but declined to give any reason for the detention.

On June 10, Israeli forces arrested Wasfi Qabaha, who was named prisoners minister in the short-lived government Hamas formed after winning legislative elections in January 2006.

He was detained at his home in Jenin three days after another Hamas member, Ahmed Al-Haj Ali, was arrested near Nablus.

In all, 15 Hamas lawmakers have been held since October, including two named as ministers in the 2006 government.

The arrests have continued in the weeks since Hamas and Fatah announced a surprise reconciliation deal in April, with seven detentions since then.

Most of the Hamas lawmakers were among 64 officials from the group who were arrested during a sweep of the movement's members by Israel in 2006, after militants in Gaza snatched Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in June that year.

Shalit is still being held in Gaza, though recent reports have suggested Israel and Hamas are still trying to reach a compromise deal that would see some Palestinian prisoners freed in exchange for his release.

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