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Israel arrests Hamas lawmaker in West Bank

Abdul Jaber Fuqaha becomes the fourth senior Hamas figure to be arrested by Israel in five days

AFP , Tuesday 24 Jan 2012
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Israeli forces arrested a Hamas lawmaker at his home in the West Bank city of Ramallah overnight, a source from the Islamist movement told AFP on Tuesday.

"The Israeli military arrested MP Abdul Jaber Fuqaha overnight from his home in Ramallah," said the Hamas official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Fuqaha is the fourth Hamas official to be arrested by Israeli forces in the past five days.

His detention came shortly after Israeli police arrested two Hamas members who had been taking refuge in a building belonging to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Khaled Abu Arafah, a former minister for Jerusalem affairs, and Hamas lawmaker Mohammed Totah were detained on Monday at the east Jerusalem offices of the ICRC, where they took refuge on 1 July 2010 alongside two other senior Hamas MPs, who have since been arrested and deported to the West Bank.

All four had their Jerusalem ID cards revoked by Israel, and were staying in the compound in a bid to avoid being detained.

On Thursday, Israeli troops detained Aziz Dweik, another Hamas member and the speaker of the Palestinian parliament. Dweik's office said on Tuesday a military court had approved six months of administrative detention for the lawmaker.

And on Friday morning, Israeli troops arrested Hamas MP Khaled Tafesh at his home in a village east of Bethlehem, in the southern West Bank.

In a statement, Hamas condemned Fuqaha's arrest as "the continuation of a fierce campaign being waged against us by the occupation."

Over 20 of Hamas's 74 MPs in the 132-member PLC are currently being held by Israel, with most of them arrested in the last 15 months.

Two Fatah MPs and one from the leftwing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine are also currently being held by Israel, parliamentary sources say.

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