Israeli army arrests Hamas leader in West Bank

By: AFP      Published: 09:25 PM, 2 Jun, 2021
Israeli army arrests Hamas leader in West Bank

The Israeli army said Wednesday it has arrested a Hamas leader in the occupied West Bank accused of setting up a base for the Palestinian Islamist group in the territory.

Special forces arrested Sheikh Jamal al-Tawil in the city of Ramallah late Tuesday, the army said.

It said Tawil "took an active part in organising violent riots" and "the re-establishment of the Hamas headquarters in Ramallah".

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem in Gaza confirmed the arrest.

"The occupation forces' arrest of movement leader Jamal al-Tawil will not quell the voice of resistance in the West Bank," he said.

The arrest came after a May 21 Egyptian-brokered ceasefire halted 11 days of deadly bombardment between Israel and Hamas, following a spike in tensions in Jerusalem.

On Wednesday, Iyad al-Bozom, spokesman for the Hamas-run interior ministry in Gaza, said two more Hamas combatants died while dismantling Israeli ordnance in the enclave.

Israel has arrested dozens of Hamas members in past weeks in the West Bank, including several who had planned to run in Palestinian elections scheduled for late May but postponed by president Mahmud Abbas. 

Hamas controls the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, while Fatah dominates the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

Israel, the United States and the European Union consider Hamas a "terrorist" organisation.

Palestinian protests have erupted across the West Bank since early May, with 30 Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli forces and in alleged attacks.