Israel arrests top Hamas official in West Bank

JERUSALEM Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:31am EDT

The mother of Maher Audi, a senior Hamas figure, poses with a picture of him in the West Bank village of Ein Yabrud near Ramallah March 14, 2010. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

The mother of Maher Audi, a senior Hamas figure, poses with a picture of him in the West Bank village of Ein Yabrud near Ramallah March 14, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Mohamad Torokman

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli forces arrested a senior Hamas figure on Sunday after a raid in the town of Ramallah, the seat of the West Bank-based Palestinian government, the Israeli military said.

A military statement described Maher Audi as a founder of Hamas in the West Bank and said he was responsible for the death of 10 Israelis.

There was no immediate comment from the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas, an Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, has carried out dozens of suicide bombings against Israelis. It controls the Gaza Strip coastal enclave that is blockaded by Israel.

Hamas is less dominant in the occupied West Bank where the Fatah faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds sway. Palestinians want both territories for a future state.

(Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Charles Dick)

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