Israel Arrests Hamas Official for Failing to Leave East Jerusalem

Mohammed Abu Tir, along with three other Hamas legislators, was ordered to leave Israel by July over his links with the militant organization.

Israel Police arrested Hamas official Mohammed Abu Tir on Wednesday for failing to comply with orders to leave his East Jerusalem home.

Hamas' Mohammed Abu Tir at his East Jerusalem home after his release from an Israeli jail, May 20, 2010. Israel revoked his Jerusalem residency and he is now imprisoned without charges.

Abu Tir was arrested at the entrance to the city's southeastern Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, and taken for questioning at the Russian Compound police headquarters.

Police are expected to ask a court on Thursday to remand Abu Tir in custody.

In early June, Jerusalem police confiscated Abu Tir's Israeli identity card, along with those of three other Hamas legislators - Mohammed Totach, Khaled Abu Arafa, and Ahmed Atoun - giving them until July to leave Jerusalem.

All four have refused to give up their duties within the Hamas Legislative Council. Detectives from the Jerusalem District Police Central Unit took their identity cards after the High Court said it would not prevent the men's expulsion.

Israel had warned the four men in the past to renounce membership of Hamas or risk losing residency rights in East Jerusalem.

On Thursday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced Israel's plan to expel the four Hamas politicians from Jerusalem for belonging to the Islamic militant group Hamas, saying the expulsion Bank would set a dangerous precedent and would create new obstacles for peace.

Israel has stripped thousands of Palestinians of their Jerusalem residency since capturing the eastern part of the city in the 1967 Six-Day War, citing procedural reasons.

However, human rights activists say revoking the residency of the four Hamas politicians would mark the first time Israel had against Arab residents of the city because of their political affiliation. Israel considers Hamas a terrorist group.