Israel arrests West Bank Hamas leaders

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel arrested 10 Hamas leaders in the West Bank.

Among those arrested early Thursday were four Hamas legislative council members, a university professor and a former Hamas deputy prime minister.

A statement from the Israel Defense Forces released Thursday morning said the arrested men were "terror operatives" who have been "the leaders of the ongoing effort to restore the administrative branch of the Hamas terror organization in the region, while attempting to strengthen the power and influence of Hamas."

The arrests came two days after Egyptian-mediated talks stalled between Israel and Hamas on a prisoner swap to free kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

"Israel’s arrests of Hamas leaders and lawmakers in the West Bank is an attempt to blackmail the resistance and achieve gains in the prisoner case," Hamas said in a statement, according to Reuters.
 

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