A nighttime sweep of the West Bank by security forces Sunday led to 25 arrests, including 20 Hamas members. The arrests took place in major urban areas, including Ramallah, Nablus and Qalqilya.
Hamas has been attempting to strengthen its infrastructure in the West Bank, leveraging the increased clout the terror group won after it was perceived to have made Israel back down at the close of Operation Pillar of Defense in November, when the IDF stopped short of launching a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip.
Hamas officials said on Monday that of those arrested, 20 were Hamas members, and three of those were also members of the Palestinian parliament. Hebrew media reports on Monday said that nine of those arrested were senior Hamas figures.
Several of those arrested have been held by Israel in the past, and one was currently wanted for a series of shooting attacks along West Bank roads.
The IDF did not encounter direct resistance during the operation, although troops were at one point pelted with rocks by local residents and had to resort to crowd-control measures.
Palestinians have been deeply divided since Hamas overran Gaza in 2007, ousting forces from the secular Fatah party led by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas lawmakers have been subject to arrests by Israel since the group defeated Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election.
AP contributed to this report.
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