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Israel detains two sisters of killed Hamas leader Aruri

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Ramallah, Palestinian Territories Israeli soldiers detained two sisters of Saleh al-Aruri, a top leader of Hamas who was killed in Lebanon this month, Palestinian sources and the Israeli army said on Sunday.

The killing of Aruri, the deputy chief of Hamas, in a suburb of Beirut on January 2 was widely attributed to an Israeli drone strike, fuelling fears that Israel’s war in Gaza could widen into a regional conflict.

The Israeli army said on Sunday it had detained the two women in the occupied West Bank “after they incited to terrorism against the state of Israel”, without elaborating.

The slain leader’s brother-in-law, Awad al-Aruri, said the two women and several other family members had been put into “administrative detention”.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, a campaign group, said Dalal al-Aruri, 52, and Fatima al-Aruri, 47, were arrested in separate locations near the city of Ramallah.

Fatima’s son Muhammad Saqr said his mother was arrested before dawn when troops stormed into their residential area.

“They checked her identity card, photographed it and sent it to the officer who was with them. When it was confirmed that it was the person they wanted, they took her and left,” Saqr told AFP.

“The occupation (Israel) believes that by arresting women and young people and assassinating children in Gaza it will kill this massive revolution, (but) it will end with the liberation (of Palestine).”

The Israeli army had accused Aruri of helping to plan the October 7 attack in southern Israel by Hamas fighters from Gaza, which resulted in the deaths of 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli figures.

Israel’s military campaign in Gaza has since killed at least 23,843 people, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club said 5,875 Palestinians have been detained in the West Bank since the Gaza war began.

It said that, of these, 1,970 had been put under administrative detention, which allows for suspects to be held without charge or trial for renewable periods of up to six months.

Israel says administrative detention is intended to allow authorities to hold suspects while continuing to gather evidence, with the aim of preventing attacks or other security offences in the meantime.

Israel has occupied the West Bank, home to about three million Palestinians, since the Six-Day War of 1967.

Excluding annexed east Jerusalem, the territory is now home to around 490,000 Israelis who live in settlements considered illegal under international law.

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