Hamas wants to swap hostages
with Palestinian detainees

Israel said on Sunday the eight detainees belong to Hamas and that they were planning to seize an Israeli bus, take it to the West Bank and then demand the release of prisoners.

 

“The Israeli security agency and an undercover unit of the Jerusalem district police recently caught a Hamas cell”, said Gil Kleiman, an Israeli police spokesman.

 

The spokesman also accused the eight of intending to capture a soldier and plant bombs in a Jerusalem apartment, saying they were receiving instructions from Hamas prisoners in an Israeli jail.

 

Hamas and other Palestinian groups are staging a military campaign against Israeli targets in the Occupied Territories and Israel, aiming at gaining independence.

 

More than 15,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israeli forces since the start of the intifadah (uprising) in September 2000 according to Al-Dameer, a Palestinian non-governmental organisation that supports prisoners.

 

Ten percent of those detained have been children under the age of 18, the organization stated on its website. “At least 340 of these children remain in detention,” it said.

 

International human rights groups accuse Israel of violating humanitarian laws.

 

Arrest and detention by Israeli security services in the Occupied Territories are governed by a series of Israeli military orders.

 

These orders, Amnesty International said, “have given the Palestinians of the Occupied Territories rights which are inferior to the rights of Israeli citizens”.

 

In a research released on 23 May, 2002, the human rights watchdog said Israeli practices “breach international standards for arrest and detention”.