Israeli security forces detained more than 30 Hamas civil servants in the West Bank.
Palestinians said at least 33 members of the governing Islamist faction were taken into custody in a series of West Bank raids Thursday. The detainees included the Palestinian Authority education minister, three lawmakers, and the mayor of Nablus.
Israel described the predawn dragnet as part of efforts to quell cross-border rocket fire by Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.
“It is a message that we demand the shooting stop,” Defense Minister Amir Peretz told Israel’s Army Radio. “We have maintained all necessary restraint, and we will take any action that may change the situation, though not necessary action that brings about killing and violence.”