World Bulletin / News Desk
The Israeli army detained 80 leaders of the Palestinian movement Hamas in the West Bank in the early hours of Sunday, according to the Israeli army radio.
The broadcast quoted army sources as saying that they had detained leading figures from Hamas and some from the Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian faction.
The sources linked the detentions to the disappearance of three teenage Jewish settlers who went missing late Thursday in the southern West Bank.
Israel's army cordoned off the West Bank city of Hebron as part of search efforts for the three Jewish teenage settlers.
Israel Radio said that the move was ordered by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon.
The Israeli army suspects that the three settlers are still in the Hebron area.
"In efforts to return the 3 abducted teens, Israel Defense Forces detained approximately 80 Palestinian suspects in overnight operations," Israel's army spokesman Peter Lerner wrote on his Twitter account on Sunday.
A leading Hamas figure told Anadolu Agency the latest detentions included former ministers, lawmakers and mosque preachers.
The independent Ahrar Center for Prisoners and Human Rights, meanwhile, denounced the Israeli detentions.
In a statement, it said the detained Hamas leaders included MP Hassan Youssef, former prisoners affairs minister Wasfi Kabha and former minister Khalid Abu Arafa.
The center added that Israel had re-detained at least 23 of the recently-referred Palestinian prisoners.
Israel closes Gaza's only commercial crossing
Israel has decided to close down the Gaza Strip's only functioning commercial crossing, Karam Abu Salem, starting Sunday and until further notice.
The closure was part of a series of punitive measures taken by Israeli authorities following Thursday's disappearance of three young Jewish settlers in the West Bank.
Raed Fatouh, a Palestinian official tasked with coordinating traffic through the crossing, said Israeli authorities had notified them of the decision late Saturday.
The decision will, however, exempt all types of fuel coming into the Gaza Strip, he told Anadolu Agency.
Home to roughly 1.8 million people, the coastal enclave has six border crossings controlled by Israel and one by Egypt.Last Mod: 15 Haziran 2014, 10:08