Israel Detains Senior Hamas Officials

Education Minister and two mayors among those arrested
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2007 12:16 PM CDT
Israel Detains Senior Hamas Officials
'   (Associated Press)

Israeli troops arrested 33 Hamas leaders—including several moderate politicians—in the West Bank overnight, as part of a continuing crackdown on the group following a deadly barrage of rocket attacks. The move suggests Israel is stepping up pressure on Hamas' political arm as it seeks to prevent the group's military wing from launching further attacks, CNN reports. 

The officials included parliamentarians, two mayors, and the Education Minister, as well as senior Hamas operatives. Thursday's arrests bring the total number of Palestinian legislators in Israeli prisons to 41; the Palestinian Information minister calls the raid "a massacre to Palestinian democracy." Still, says the Israeli Defense Minister, "Arrests are better than shooting." (More Israel stories.)

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