On Friday, the Israeli army confirmed that Mohammed Assida was detained at a mobile roadblock on a road outside his home village of Tel, close to the city of Nablus.

 

The 36-year-old, who is a member of the group's political wing, had spent six months in jail in 2002, the Palestinian sources said.

 

Israel is meant to have suspended its arrest operations in the occupied territories; but says it still reserves the right to detain anyone considered an immediate security threat.

 

Islamic Jihad, which is meant to be observing a de facto truce, responded to the arrest of six of its members earlier this week with a series of rocket attacks on the southern Israeli town of Sderot.

 

Gaza borders closed

 

Israel closed the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on Friday along with the main Erez crossing point into northern Gaza, stating it was doing so over fears of an attack by fighters.

 

"They have closed due to a high security alert," an Israeli military source said. "There is very real threat of a terror attack being carried out."

 

Israeli security officials had been in contact with the Palestinian Authority about the alert in a hope that they could apprehend the suspects.

 

Both Rafah and Erez have been frequently closed over the last few years for security reasons.