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Israel detains Palestinian parliament speaker in West Bank raid

[JURIST] Israeli security forces late Saturday detained the speaker of the Palestinian parliament [official website, in Arabic] after surrounding his home in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Aziz Dweik [official profile in Arabic; JMCC profile] is a senior member of Hamas [CFR backgrounder], the movement now in control of the Palestinian government, and an Israeli army spokesman told Reuters that "Since Hamas is a terrorist organization, he is a target for arrest." Israeli troops surrounded Dweik's home twice before without taking him into custody; on at least one occasion he was away. Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya has denounced what he called Israel's act of "piracy."

Israel seized eight Palestinian government ministers and some 20 legislators [JURIST report] on June 29 following the abduction of IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit [Wikipedia backgrounder] in Gaza. On Wednesday two of the men arrested - the Palestinian Minister for Prisoners' Affairs and a deputy speaker in the Palestinian Legislative Council who were released from Israeli custody earlier this week - told reporters that they had been abused while detained [JURIST report]. Israeli officials said in June that the captured Palestinian lawmakers would be tried under standard criminal warrants [JURIST report] for membership in or leadership of a terrorist organization. BBC News has more. From Israel, Ynet has local coverage.

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