WEST BANK, Israel – In a sweeping move across the West Bank, Israel has detained over 60 members of Hamas, including the organisation’s spokesperson, Hassan Yousef.
The raids are a part of Israel’s intensified operations in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian region, which is witnessing escalating repercussions from the ongoing Gaza conflict.
According to CNN, Hassan Yousef, a prominent Hamas figure in the West Bank, was taken into custody from his residence in Beitunia on Friday, October 20, 2023.
This revelation comes from a statement by the Palestinian Prisoners Club, an NGO advocating for Palestinian detainees.
Yousef, 68, has had previous run-ins with Israeli forces, resulting in a cumulative 24 years in Israeli detention on various charges.
The Israel Security Agency, Shin Bet, verified Yousef’s arrest to CNN, indicating his apprehension “on suspicion of acting on behalf of Hamas.”
Simultaneously, the situation in the Nour Shams refugee camp in Tulkarem remains tense. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported casualties during an Israeli military operation in the camp on Thursday.
In a recent interview with The Globe and Mail, Yousef suggested that Hamas might be willing to release an estimated 200 hostages if Israel sanctions a 24-hour ceasefire, permitting aid entry into Gaza.
Israel’s intensified operations have resulted in the detention of 850 Palestinians since the October 7 attack by Hamas inside Israel, as indicated by the Palestinian Prisoners Club.
Mustafa Barghouti, General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, shed light on the prevailing situation, highlighting the continuous rise in Palestinian arrests. “Every night, they are conducting more and more arrests. The number of Palestinian prisoners now in Israeli jails is up to 6,300,” Barghouti informed CNN.
Tensions between the Palestinians and Israeli troops have spiked, with the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health confirming six deaths on Thursday. The Palestinian Red Crescent communicated challenges in accessing injured individuals due to alleged detainments by Israeli forces.
The recent events underline the complexities in the West Bank, which Israel occupied post the 1967 Six Day War.
Although globally, many view these settlements as contrary to international law, Israel regards the West Bank as “disputed territory” and upholds its settlement strategy.