Israel Arrests Hamas Head of Palestinian Parliament

Posted January 19th, 2012 at 5:35 pm (UTC-5)
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The Israeli army says it has arrested Palestinian parliament speaker Aziz Dweik near the West Bank city of Ramallah on suspicion of involvement with a terrorist group.

Hamas officials say Dweik was detained Thursday at an Israeli military checkpoint as he was travelling to Hebron in the southern West Bank.

Dweik is a senior member of the Islamist Hamas movement, which governs Gaza Strip. However, he is based in the West Bank.

The Palestinian parliament has not functioned since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007 from the rival Fatah Party. The legislative body is supposed to be revived under a unity deal signed last year by the leaders of the two Palestinian factions but the pact has yet to be implemented.

Dweik was previously arrested along with other Hamas parliamentarians and government officials in 2006 after Palestinian militants abducted an Israeli soldier. He spent two years in jail.