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Israel Arrests Senior Hamas Member

JERUSALEM -- The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on Monday night arrested a former spokesperson of Islamic Hamas movement in the West Bank, Palestinian news outlets reported Tuesday.

The IDF spokesperson unit confirmed to Xinhua on Tuesday that Israeli soldiers have arrested nine Hamas activists in the West Bank overnight.

According to the Palestinians' report, Rafat Nassif was arrested in Tul Karem, along with eight other Hamas members.

Nassif, considered to be the Hamas leader in the West Bank and hawkish figure who resents reconciliation efforts with the West Bank- based Fatah movement, has been arrested several times by Israeli security forces since 2009. He was arrested in July 2012 and was recently released.

Nassif said in December 2012 that there has been increasing Israeli arrests of Hamas activists in the West Bank.

In an interview with Turkish media, Nassif said if Israel keeps arresting Palestinians in the West Bank, "we would step up our protests."

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