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The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces arrest Hamas members in West Bank ahead of Palestinian elections

At least 20 Palestinians in the West Bank were arrested by Israeli forces [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 February, 2021

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Mustafa Al-Shunnar, 60, and Omar Abdul-Rahim Al-Hanbali, 50, two Hamas officials, have been arrested by Israeli forces.
At least 20 Palestinians, including Hamas officials, have been detained by Israeli forces in overnight raids in the occupied West Bank, sources reported on Monday.

Mustafa Al-Shunnar, 60, and Omar Abdul-Rahim al-Hanbali, 50, were two Hamas members identified among those arrested, according to the Palestinian Prisoner Society.

Muntasir Al-Shunnar - the son of the Hamas official who is also a professor at the An-Najah National University in Nablus - confirmed his father's arrest.

"Israeli forces raided his home, destroyed some belongings and questioned my father before arresting him," Shunar told The New Arab’s Arabic language site, adding that his father suffers from a number of health issues that require medical attention.

Al-Shunnar had previously been detained by the Israeli military.

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, has earlier warned of Israeli plans to carry out mass arrests ahead of planned Palestinian elections later this year, according to local reports.

Last month, senior Hamas members Hatem Naji Amr and Omar Barghouthi (not the detained Palestinian activist of the same name) told Anadolu Agency that they were threatened by the Israeli intelligence of imprisonment if they run in the upcoming elections. 

"Israeli forces are targeting Hamas members through individual arrests," activist Faoud Al-Kuffash told The New Arab’s Arabic language site.

"Previously, the occupation forces would carry out campaigns of mass arrests against the political group, but they do not want to provoke public outrage ahead of the upcoming May elections.

"This is a clear message from Israel, that it does not want to see members of the Hamas party re-elected."

Palestinians are scheduled to vote in the legislative elections on 22 May, presidential polls on 31 July and the National Council on 31 August.


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