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Hamas’ security forces in Gaza arrested the purported leader of a global jihad militant group earlier this week, Haaretz learned yesterday.

Hisham Saidani, leader of the Tawhid al-Jihad, a group associated with Al-Qaida and other global jihad elements, was arrested at home at the central Gaza refugee camp of al-Maazi after spending 18 months on Hamas’ wanted list.

The arrest, which sources said was conducted peacefully and without resistance, followed repeated attempts to nab Saidani, whose group has been operating in the region for several years.

Tawhid al-Jihad has been linked to 2004 attacks against tourist destinations in the Sinai, as well as carrying out attacks on hotels in the Egyptian peninsula that killed 19 people. The group had recently widened its Gaza support base.

Following the arrest, Hamas security upped its alertness level fearing Saidani’s men would attempt to avenge his arrest by attacking or kidnapping one of the Gaza Strip’s Hamas leaders.

Hamas security has been targeting the global jihad network in Gaza for some time now, last month arresting Mahmoud Taleb, another central figure in the Strip associated with the global jihad movement.