A key Hamas spokesperson has been detained by Israeli security forces during overnight raids conducted across the West Bank.
Separately, a number of Palestinians were killed in an ongoing Israeli military operation in the Nour Shams refugee camp in the city of Tulkarem in the West Bank on Thursday, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health as quoted by CNN.
Israel Security Agency Shin Bet on Friday confirmed to CNN the arrest of the spokesman, Hassan Yousef “on suspicion of acting on behalf of Hamas.”
Hassan Yousef, a leading Palestinian political figure who served as the official Hamas spokesperson in the West Bank, was detained in his home, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, an NGO representing Palestinian detainees.
“Occupation forces arrested Hamas leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef from his home in Beitunia, as part of a wide-scale arrest campaign in the occupation (sic) West Bank,” the Palestinian Prisoners Club statement reads as quoted by CNN.
Israeli forces have arrested Hassan Yousef on several occasions in the past.
The Hamas spokesperson has spent 24 years in Israeli jails on various charges of incitement, entering Jerusalem without permission and being a Hamas member.
Meanwhile, UN independent human rights experts on Thursday (October 19, 2023) voiced deep concern over the fate of civilians and victims of terrorism caught up in the Israel-Gaza crisis.
In a news release, the experts denounced the ruthless attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians starting 7 October. They also stressed their concern for the victims of subsequent counter-terrorism measures by Israeli forces.
“We decry the scale of the brutal assault on mothers, children, babies, the elderly and ordinary citizens going about their daily lives on the Jewish Shabbat and on a Jewish religious holiday (Sukkot),” said Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on protection of human rights while countering terrorism, and Morris Tidball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
Acts of terrorism, no matter how horrific, absolutely do not justify the commission of serious violations of international law including war crimes, or crimes against humanity, the Human Rights Council-appointed experts noted.