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Israeli forces arrest Hamas leaders after release efforts for captured soldier fail

[JURIST] Israeli forces arrested 12 Hamas leaders during raids in the West Bank Thursday. Among those seized [AFP report; Haaretz report, in Hebrew] were former Palestine deputy prime minister Nasseredin al-Shaer and Hamas officials Adnan Asfur and Raafat Nassif. The seizures came after Israel and Hamas failed to reach an agreement [AFP report] on a prisoner exchange on Tuesday. Israel did not obtain the release of Gilad Shalit [JURIST news archive], an Israeli soldier who was captured by Hamas in 2006, despite offering to release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. Hamas blames the failure of the negotiations on Israel [Haaretz report], claiming that the Palestinian prisoners Israel was willing to release would have faced deportation from the West Bank.

Soon after Shalit's capture, Israel seized Hamas leaders [JURIST report] including Palestinian Cabinet ministers and lawmakers. Prisoner exchange negotiations between Israel and Hamas have failed before, although Egypt has been attempting to mediate [JURIST reports] such negotiations since 2006. Human rights advocates have recently called for the investigation [JURIST report] of recent events in Gaza [BBC backgrounder].

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