Israel on Wednesday arrested four leaders of the Islamist movement Hamas, including lawmaker Mohammed Natsheh, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, Hamas officials said.

The Palestine News Network said nine Palestinians, including four youths, were arrested in the raid. An Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman said she was checking the claim.

Israel released Natsheh from prison two months ago after six months in administrative detention without charge or trial. If the reports are correct, he is the fourth Hamas legislator arrested by Israel so far this year.The others were arrested in an arrest raid of 25 Palestinians in early February.

Israel has also recently released another Hamas lawmaker, Nayef Rajoub, who had been in administrative detention for 28 months.

The number of Palestinian Legislative Council lawmakers held by Israel stands at 14, the majority of whom are Hamas members.

The Hamas speaker of the Palestinian parliament, Abdel Aziz Duaik, was arrested last November by an Israeli soldier on suspicion of being a member of a terror organization.

Bulgaria last month expelled three Hamas lawmakers and a fourth Palestinian from the country, saying "information was received which gives reasons to believe that their presence poses a serious threat for national security."

Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said that the lawmakers had entered the country with regular visas "issued, however, on different motives from what they have demonstrated here."