Israel arrests Hamas leader in West Bank

Tel Aviv, Oct 20 (IANS) Israeli forces arrested senior Hamas leader Hassan Youssef in the West Bank accusing him of inciting terror attacks against Israelis, the army said on Tuesday.

“The raid against Youssef, one of the top Hamas men in the West Bank, was carried out in the Ramallah suburb of Beitunia by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) together with the Shin Bet security service,” the army said in a statement.

The statement added in the note that Youssef, 60, has been “actively instigating and inciting terrorism and publicly encouraging and praising the execution of attacks against Israelis”.

IDF spokesperson Peter Lerner said Hamas’ leaders cannot expect to propagate violence and terror from the comfort of their living-rooms and the pulpits of their mosques.

“When you encourage, promote and praise the death of the innocent the IDF will act swiftly in order to contain the hateful incitement that jeopardises the safety and well-being of so many Israelis and Palestinians alike,” the IDF spokesman added.

Arrested many times previously, Youssef was released from prison in June 2015 after being held without trial in administrative detention for a year.

The arrest comes amid a wave of violence sweeping the region since October 1, in which eight Israelis were killed, an Eritrean immigrant, an Arab-Israeli and 43 Palestinians.

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