Israeli military forces arrested two senior Hamas commanders early Thursday in a pre-dawn raid on their homes in Ramallah and El-Bireh. Both cities are located in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Samaria.
Jamal Tawil and Hussein Abu Kwiek are long-time veterans of the Israeli prison system, having both been arrested multiple times by Israeli forces over the past 20 years.
Tawil, released from prison just last year, was elected mayor of El-Bireh in 2006, according to a report in The Jerusalem Post written by top Arab affairs journalist Khaled Abu Toameh. Kweik has also been arrested a number of times by Palestinian Authority security forces as well.
“Despite the arrest of our [West Bank] leaders Hamas will continue its struggle against the occupation and its projects,” Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem said in a statement to media.
“We will also continue to develop the path of unity with all components of our people in order to reach a joint strategy for confronting the colonial annexation plan.”
Hamas has been calling for unity among the various Palestinian Authority factions and “resistance” against Israel’s plans to extend sovereignty to her communities in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley.
The terrorist organization, which has ruled Gaza for more than a decade, vowed to work together with the rival Fatah faction that leads the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority government against Israel’s sovereignty plans.