JERUSALEM — Israel’s intelligence service has arrested dozens of Hamas members in the West Bank who had been setting up infrastructure for the militant Islamic group there, according to a government statement Monday.
In Hamas-controlled Gaza, militants fired volleys of rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel, triggering an Israeli airstrike.
The intelligence service, Shin Bet, said 30 Hamas members were arrested near Ramallah, the West Bank’s administrative center.
It said they were setting up a Hamas network in the West Bank and were relaying information to the overseas leaders of the group, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction. They were also setting up Hamas cells in West Bank schools, the statement said.
The statement said two of those arrested were involved in the murder of two Israeli soldiers by a Palestinian mob in 2000. The soldiers entered Ramallah by mistake and were taken to a police station, where they were tortured and then thrown out a second-
Hamas violently took over Gaza in 2007 in bloody street battles from the rival Palestinian group Fatah.
The Palestinian Authority, dominated by Fatah, has limited powers in the West Bank under Israel’s overall security control and has launched its own crackdown against Hamas.
Israel and much of the West deals with the Palestinian Authority, while shunning Hamas.
Also Monday, Israel said its aircraft struck a Palestinian rocket launching pad and an unidentified militant site in the Gaza Strip, in response to persistent rocket and mortar fire from the coastal territory.
Gaza militants launched 21 rockets and mortar rounds into southern Israel earlier in the day, according to the military’s count. No casualties were reported on either side.