Israel arrests Palestinian parliament speaker

Abdel Aziz Dweik, the speaker of the defunct parliament and a member of Hamas, was arrested near Ramallah.

    Israel previously held Dweik for 34 months in connection with the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit [EPA]

    The speaker of the defunct Palestinian parliament, a member of Hamas who was previously detained in connection with the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, has been arrested.

    Abdel Aziz Dweik was arrested on Thursday at a checkpoint near Ramallah, in the West Bank, Hamas said. The Israeli military confirmed Dweik's arrest.

    Hamas accused Israel of arresting Dweik in an attempt to derail talks between Hamas and its rival Palestinian faction, Fatah, which have reportedly been trying to broker a deal that will unite them.

    The Palestinian parliament has not functioned since Hamas seized control of Gaza from Fatah in 2007. Since then, the Western-backed Fatah governs the West Bank and Hamas runs Gaza.

    Israel has targeted Dweik before. In 2006, after Israeli army soldier Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas during a cross-border raid, Israel arrested Dweik and others and kept him in jail for nearly three years.

    Hamas, or the Islamic Resistance Movement, won the most seats in the Palestinian election in 2006, but Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas called for new elections, and the conflict slid into a brief war between the two sides.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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