Scores of Palestinians have been arrested during a major Israeli offensive in the occupied West Bank, including 19 who were held during dawn raids on homes in East Jerusalem today.
Prominent Hamas leader Shaker Amara was held after police stormed his home in the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp near the city of Jericho.
He has been a regular target of Israeli forces and was among a number of Hamas officials deported to Lebanon in 1992.
Soldiers also detained a guard patrolling the compound at the al-Aqsa mosque as the week-long campaign by Israeli forces continued, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
They have been targeting the northern West Bank town of Ya’bad, where an Israeli soldier died after being hit by a stone in clashes with demonstrators. The Palestinians were protesting at massive incursions by Tel Aviv, which seeks to annex more land.
Israeli forces have blocked the town’s main roads and arrested at least 30 people, including children. Residents have reported violent attacks and the destruction of property by the occupation forces.
A protest march organised by Fatah demanding an end to the “siege” of the town drew hundreds of people from the surrounding towns and villages.
Party spokesman Attu Abu Irmaila said that Fatah stood in solidarity with the people of Ya’bad against the “fierce and continuous aggressive attacks” by Israeli forces.
“Ya’bad, the stronghold of al-Qassam Brigades, will not be broken and will continue to struggle as it always did since al-Qassam’s revolution,” he said, referring to the military wing of Hamas.
Jenin Governor Akram Rajoub confirmed that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is monitoring the situation and has offered full support to those affected by the Israeli offensive.