Israel nabs two Hamas lawmakers
Israeli forces abducted two lawmakers from Hamas in the West Bank early Monday, Hamas officials said. This latest development brings the number of detained Hamas legislators to 41, with two more on the run. Most were rounded following the capture of an Israeli soldier by Hamas-allied fighters in Gaza Strip last year.
The legislators detained Monday were identified as Mariam Saleh from Ramallah and Khaled Tafesh from Bethlehem, said Faraj Romaneh, a Hamas official in the West Bank. According to the AP, Saleh is the first female lawmaker to be detained.
Meanwhile, Israel is expected to free up to 400 Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture to strengthen Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas ahead of a peace conference, Haaretz daily reported on Monday. According to the report, Abbas has requested the release of up to 2,000 of the more than 11,000 Palestinians currently being held in Israeli jails before the international conference expected to be held in Annapolis later this year.
Israel's security establishment has refused to lift any of the more than 500 roadblocks and checkpoints in the West Bank, fearing that doing so could pave the way for an attack aimed at derailing the talks, Haaretz added.