Israel detains Palestinian lawmaker

12:00 Jun 7 2011 Deir Ballut, near Salfit

NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Tuesday detained 11 Palestinians in the West Bank including a Hamas-affiliated member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a journalist.

MP Nasser Abdel Jawwad was arrested in the early hours in the village of Deir Ballut near Salfit, a town nine miles south of Nablus, after troops ransacked his home, Hamas officials said.

"Abduction of lawmakers is continuation of a plan to assassinate the Palestinian people," a statement released by Hamas’ legislators read.

Officials in Nablus told Ma'an that troops detained journalist Nawwaf Al-Amir, 37, from his home in Kafr Qallil. Al-Amir is program coordinator at Hamas-affiliated Al-Quds satellite TV station.

In Rafidia, west of Nablus, soldiers detained Hamas member Fuad Al-Khafash, the director of the Ahrar center and former director of the bureau of former Minister of Prisoners Affairs Wasfi Qabahi, who was detained a few weeks earlier.

Officials added that soldiers arrested a Hamas supporter called Firas Jarrar from his home in Nablus.

The army had no immediate comment on the lawmaker's arrest, but an Israeli military spokeswoman said 11 Palestinians were detained across the West Bank overnight.

The arrest of the MP from Salfit brings to 14 the number of Hamas parliamentarians detained by Israeli troops over the past eight months.

It also raises to seven the number of Hamas MPs detained by the army since the Islamist movement signed a surprise reconciliation deal with its Fatah rivals at the end of April, a move which was roundly condemned by Israel.

Most of the Hamas MPs who have been picked up were among 64 of the group's members who were arrested during a major army sweep in summer 2006 after militants in Gaza snatched Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Shalit, now 24, is still being held in Gaza and attempts to broker a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas have led nowhere.
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