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Senior Hamas leader arrested in Gaza
GAZA (Reuters) -- Palestinian authorities arrested a senior leader of the militant Islamic Hamas movement on Sunday, police said.
Palestinian police told Reuters that Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi, an outspoken critic of the Middle East peace process, had been arrested early in the morning at his home in Khan Younis in Gaza.
Officials would not comment on the reason for the arrest.
Hamas leaders condemned the arrest, which followed last week's failed Camp David summit between Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
Israel has demanded that Arafat maintain control over Hamas, which Israel holds responsible for a series of bombing attacks that resulted in the deaths of scores of Israeli citizens.
Hamas vowed that the arrest would reinforce their commitment to jihad, or Islamic holy struggle, and the armed fight for Palestinian autonomy.
"The arrests came at a time (when) the United States had been revealing its ugly face and uniting with the Israeli enemy," the group said in a statement.
Hamas demanded the immediate release of Rantissi, who had been arrested previously for speaking out against the peace process and was released in February after 21 months in prison.
During a demonstration last week in Gaza, Rantissi called on Arafat to abandon the peace process and renew the armed struggle for a Palestinian nation.
"Yes to the rifle," he told the crowd. "Yes to Jihad."
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