Speaker of PA parliament held on terrorism charges

Hamas official Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Palestinian Authority parliament. (Flash 90)

JERUSALEM (JWN)—Aziz Dweik, the speaker of the Palestinian Authority parliament, was arrested by IDF troops at a checkpoint near Ramallah on Thursday and is being held on suspicion of involvement with terrorist groups.

Dweik, a senior Hamas official, spent 2006 to 2008 in an Israeli prison on similar charges. Both the IDF Spokesman and Hamas confirmed his arrest yesterday.

Hamas accused Israel of arresting Dweik in order to prevent Palestinian factions from implementing a unity pact agreed upon in the spring by PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.

Dweik’s arrest follows a recent surge in terrorist activity. Two Arab Israeli brothers from the northern village of Kafr Kana were indicted at the Nazareth District Court on Thursday with involvement with a West Bank Hamas terrorist cell planning bombing and shooting attacks on Israelis.

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced that it had broken up a Hamas “terrorist council” operating in Jerusalem operated by a group of senior Hamas members who live in the city. The five suspects were charged in December at the Jerusalem District Court with belonging to a terrorist organization and money laundering.