Last updated: 29 October, 2012

Israel says it broke up Hamas command in West Bank

Israeli security forces have arrested about 30 activists of the militant Islamist Hamas organisation in the occupied West Bank “in recent months” the Shin Bet domestic security service said on Monday.

It said that a joint operation by its agents, the army and police had “exposed a widespread Hamas command structure operating in the Ramallah district.”

“So far about 30 Hamas activists, who were involved in command activity, have been arrested,” it said, adding that the network’s aim was to give a boost to Hamas activity in the Ramallah area.

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, has been largely suppressed in the West Bank by security forces of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, dominated by the rival Fatah movement of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

“In interrogation of those arrested it transpired that the command worked with the objective of reviving the activities of the Hamas movement and to resurrect it in the Ramallah area,” the statement said.

It said that among Hamas methods was a membership drive in local universities.

On Saturday, Israeli security forces held senior Hamas MP Mahmud al-Ramahi for several hours at a military roadblock in the West Bank and impounded his car, Palestinian parliamentary officials said.

The parliament speaker’s office said Ramahi, formerly secretary general of the Palestinian parliament, was questioned until evening about his activities in Hamas before being sent back to his home in Ramallah, but his vehicle was confiscated as allegedly Hamas property.

It said that Israeli forces this week visited the home of jailed Hamas MP Ahmed Mubarak and took his car away on the same grounds.