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Israel arrests 120 Hamas members in West Bank: Palestinians

Israeli troops on Sunday arrested 120 Hamas members in the southern West Bank just hours after the faction's Gaza branch fired rockets into Israel, Palestinian security sources said.

world Updated: Aug 21, 2011 12:34 IST

Israeli troops on Sunday arrested 120 Hamas members in the southern West Bank just hours after the faction's Gaza branch fired rockets into Israel, Palestinian security sources said.

Palestinian security sources said troops fanned out across the southern West Bank in an overnight operation which kicked off just hours after Hamas's armed wing in Gaza fired rockets into southern Israel, breaking a truce brokered in April.

The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades said that they fired four Grad rockets at the Israeli town of Ofakim near the Gaza Strip, lightly wounding two children, in what was the first such attack claimed by the group in months and came in the context of rising tensions in and around the enclave.

Among those arrested early on Sunday was Hamas MP Mohammed Motlaq Abu J'heisha, the sources said.

The Israeli operation met with resistance, with youngsters hurling stones at troops in Dura and troops retaliating with rubber bullets, moderately injuring one youngster, medics said.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the reported arrests, which came as tensions soared along the Israel-Gaza border, with the air force launching multiple air strikes against militants who hit back with rocket attacks.

The violence was sparked after a bloody series of shooting attacks on Thursday near the Red Sea resort town of Eilat, which killed eight Israelis. Since then, 15 Gazans have been killed and over 40 injured, with rocket attacks killing one Israeli and injuring dozens.