RAMALLAH, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Israeli forces arrested 10 leaders and
lawmakers from Islamic Hamas movement in overnight raids in West Bank, sources
and witnesses said.
"The Israeli army stormed the houses of several Hamas leaders in Nablus,
Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem and detained a number of them," the sources said.
The detainees included Nasser al-Sha'er, a moderate official who served as
the deputy of Hamas' prime minister Ismail Haneya inthe tenth Palestinian
government that Hamas formed after it won the parliamentary elections in 2006.
The soldiers broke into our house at night and stayed there for about 45
minutes, said al-Sha'er's wife Huda al-Sha'er, adding "They arrested my husband
after intensive telephone calls between the soldiers and their chiefs."
In all, a professor, a political leader and eight members of the
Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) rounded up, according to
However, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed with Xinhua on Thursday
morning that 10 Hamas members, including four legislators with the PLC, were
taken for questioning by the IDF.
The sources said the arrests "apparently aimed at putting pressure on
Hamas" after efforts to free Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held hostage by
the Islamic movement, failed.
Israel accuses Hamas of increasing and hardening its demands to exchange
Shalit for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners hours before the Egyptian mediators
were about to broker a prisoner exchange deal.
After Hamas captured Shalit near Gaza in June 2006, Israel arrested tens of
Hamas lawmakers and officials from West Bank and released some of them later.