A senior Hamas member and Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) was reportedly arrested on Sunday night in the Judean city of Hevron, the focus of IDF efforts to rescue the three yeshiva students who were kidnapped last Thursday night by terrorists.
Palestinian Arab sources reported to Yedioth Aharonoth that Aziz Duwaik, the Speaker from the Hamas movement, was arrested by the IDF, along with additional parliament members in Judea and Samaria.
According to the laws of the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) government, the Speaker of the PLC takes the place of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman in a case of emergency, meaning Duwaik is second-in-line to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Duwaik is reportedly the most senior Hamas official in Judea and Samaria. He was arrested in his home in the Hevron area.
In 2006, Duwaik was voted in during the elections when Hamas overpowered Fatah, leading to their violent seizure of Gaza. However, the PLC has been inactive for several years.
Duwaik was arrested in January, 2012, on suspicion of terrorist activity. He was previously arrested and jailed in August of 2006, after the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, but was released in 2009.
Arab MK Ibrahim Sarsour (Raam-Taal) met Duwaik in 2012 to congratulate him on his release, just as he had done in 2009 with MK Masud Ghnaim to congratulate him after his release then. Arab MK Hanin Zoabi has also been caught in photos in which she is seen rubbing elbows with well-known Hamas figures, including Duwaik.
The arrest comes during a night when 40 terrorists in Judea and Samaria were captured by the IDF as of 6:30 a.m. Roughly 150 have been arrested since the operation began late Thursday night.
The arrests on Sunday included Hassan Yousef, a leading Hamas terror activist, whose son Mossab became an Israeli informant and converted to Christianity. He authored the book “Son of Hamas” and was disowned by his father.
Gilad Sha'ar, 16, Naftali Frenkel, 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19 were kidnapped by terrorists apparently from Hamas on Thursday night, as they were on their way home from the Makor Chaim Yeshiva in the religious kibbutz Kfar Etzion, located between Jerusalem and Hevron. IDF forces continue to search for them.