Israel has arrested 40 Hamas members in the Nablus area who it claims were plotting attacks against it. The Hamas group’s leaders were working to renew Hamas activity in the West Bank, the Israeli security agency Shin Bet told the Jerusalem Post.
The arrests reportedly took place over the past few months and include senior Hamas members and former prisoners held by Israel. The people arrested included Ranem Tufik Tzalah Salameh, 49, a senior Hamas official in Nablus and Ahmed Tufik Yusef Tzalhah, 42, who was said to be responsible for communication with Hamas officials abroad. The suspects also included six men who were reportedly placed in charge of Hamas operations in separate villages outside Nablus.
Hamas dismissed the accusations against its members, saying Israel was just trying to sabotage its
relationship with other Arab powers. Shin Bet said the detainees would be indicted in an Israeli military court soon. There was no information on how the Hamas suspects might plead in court. Hamas has been the democratically-elected ruler of the Palestinian territory of Gaza since 2007.
Until recently, Hamas took part in the Palestinian unity government formed in 2014 that involved various Palestinian factions, including the West Bank’s rulers Fatah. The government disbanded earlier this month after it emerged that Hamas had held separate indirect talks with Israel.