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      Senior Hamas Official Arrested on Terrorism Charges

      IDF arrests the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council on suspicion of terrorist activity.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 1/20/2012, 5:13 AM

      Hamas terrorists
      Hamas terrorists
      Flash 90

      IDF soldiers on Thursday arrested a senior official from Hamas on suspicion of terrorist activity, Channel 10 News reported. The IDF Spokesperson confirmed the arrest.

      The official who was arrested is Dr. Aziz Duwaik, who has served as the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) since January 2006. He was reportedly arrested at a security checkpoint near Ramallah and was transferred to the Israel Security Agency (ISA) for further interrogations.

      Channel 10 cited Palestinian Authority-based news agencies as having reported that Duwaik was taken away blindfolded and with his hands tied. It was also reported that a man who accompanied him was arrested as well but released a short time later.

      This is not the first time Duwaik has been arrested by Israel. He was previously arrested and jailed in August of 2006, but was released in 2009.

      Channel 10 reported that PA officials condemned the arrest and called it an Israeli attempt to thwart the efforts to give the PA legislative power and authority throughout Judea and Samaria. The official said that the arrest is a clear violation of norms and international understandings.

      The Deputy Speaker of the PLC, Dr. Ahmad Bahar, called the arrest a kidnapping and said Israel was fully responsible for Duwaik’s well-being, the report said.

      Bahar also called on Egypt, the Arab League and Muslim states to intervene to bring about Duwaik’s release.

      Duwaik's arrest came after an IDF raid on Hamas offices in Tulkarem turned up a photo of MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) rubbing elbows with well-known Hamas figures.

      The photo -- recovered with a cache of intelligence data in December -- shows Zoabi alongside four known Hamas members, Duwaik being one of them.