IDF Arrests Top Hamas Official in West Bank Amid Heightened Security Alert

Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder and father of Shin Bet operative known as 'Son of Hamas,' reportedly detained in military facility following arrest near Nablus.

Avi Issacharoff
Avi Issacharoff
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Avi Issacharoff
Avi Issacharoff

Israel Defense Forces arrested a top Hamas West Bank late Wednesday, amid recent security measures taken in the wake of intelligence reports claiming that terror groups were planning a major attack in Israel's south.

Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder and one of its leaders in the West Bank, was reportedly arrested by IDF soldiers late last night, and held for a few hours at the Tapuach junction near Nablus after being transported to a military detention facility.

Senior Hamas leader in the West Bank Sheikh Hassan Yousef.Credit: AP

Yousef, the father of Shin Bet operative known as "Son of Hamas," was released from Israeli prison last years after five years for his involvement in terror activities. At the time, his release came as part of a larger Israeli gesture in honor of Ramadan.

The story of Sheikh Hassan Yousef's son Mosab Hassan Yousef, who supplied intelligence to Israel's Shin Bet, has been extensively reported on by Haaretz.

Mosab Hassan Yousef served for over a decade as the Shin Bet security service's most valuable source in the Hamas leadership, going by the nickname "the Green Prince." The intelligence he supplied Israel led to the exposure of a number of terrorist cells, and to the prevention of dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts on Israeli figures.

Commenting on recent rising tensions in Israel's southern border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip as well as Israel's border with Egypt, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Israelli forces were on "high alert in the south, against a possible attack, similar in part to the attack which occurred 10 days ago."

"Readiness is very high. We are determined to strike at those carrying out the attacks, to take action as much as possible to intercept the attack and we are reiterating that responsibility stems from the Gaza Strip. It is not just Islamic Jihad but also Hamas," Barak said.

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