Israel arrests Hamas lawmaker, other activists
An Israeli military force arrested a Hamas lawmaker at his West Bank home early Thursday, the Islamist movement said, DPA reported.
The force raided the house of Abdul Rahman Zeidan in Deir al-Ghussoun, east of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarm, and arrested him after a thorough search.
Zeidan spent almost four years in prison following a sweeping arrest campaign of almost all Hamas lawmakers in the West Bank in 2006.
The arrests followed a cross-border raid by Hamas on an Israeli army outpost near Gaza, when an Israeli soldier was taken hostage. Zeidan was released in March 2009.
Family members said an Israeli officer told Zeidan during the arrest raid he might be released in an exchange deal with the abducted Israeli soldier, still held captive in Gaza by Hamas.
He also hinted that the arrest was related to the reconciliation between Hamas and its West Bank rival, President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, reached early May telling him, "Do you think you can have reconciliation as you wish?"
The arrest of Zeidan, who also served as transportation minister in the short-lived Hamas government in 2006, brings the number of Hamas lawmakers currently in Israeli prisons to 13.
Most of them were arrested in the 2006 arrest campaign, released and then rearrested.
Another army force in the northern West Bank city of Nablus arrested former Palestinian lawmaker and Fatah leader Husam Khader after searching his house in Balata refugee camp.
Khader was held in Nablus in 2002 and spent almost seven years in an Israeli prison.
The army also arrested a university lecturer in Nablus, who had also previously served three years in Israeli jails.