Israeli soldiers have arrested head of the Palestinian Workers Union Yasser Taha in a pre-dawn raid in the occupied West Bank town of Bidya.
The prominent member of the Fatah movement was snatched after Israeli troops broke into his house in the Salfit district of Bidya and ransacked his home in search of documents, the Palestinian News and Information Center (WAFA) reported.
Taha had reportedly been in charge of the Workers Union for a number of years.
The Israeli army regularly arrests Palestinians in overnight operations in West Bank towns. The detentions are in violation of a security agreement with the Palestinian National Authority.
Tel Aviv claims that those arrested in such raids are ‘wanted activists’ and taken for interrogation.
Meanwhile, Hamas says the Fatah-run security forces have arrested at least 14 people affiliated to the Palestinian faction in occupied West Bank.
According to Hamas, the arrests were made in overnight operations in Qalqiliya in the north, al-Khalil (Hebron) in the south as well as Ariha (Jericho) in the east.
The recent arrests are part of a widespread crackdown by the Palestinian Authority on the Hamas Resistance Movement in the West Bank.
The rival Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, have been struggling for months to set aside outstanding differences and repair the internal Palestinian divisions.
Since Hamas won an outright majority in 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, the two factions have pursued bitter rivalry featuring sporadic fighting and tit-for-tat arrests. Mutual hostility boiled over in the summer of 2007, when Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip.
Since then, Hamas has governed the Gaza Strip, while Fatah has continued to control the West Bank from Ramallah. Further complicating the situation, Israel and Egypt – with the Palestinian Authority’s blessings – have both sealed their borders with the Gaza Strip, effectively cutting off the coastal strip from the world.