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Egypt Condemns Israel's Arrest of Palestinian Parliament Speaker


The Israeli army has arrested the speaker of the Palestinian parliament.

Officials said Abdel Aziz Duaik was detained early Sunday in a raid on his house in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

Israeli officials said Duaik was taken into custody because he is a leader of a terrorist group. Duaik is a member of Hamas, which won elections and controls the Palestinian government.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit condemned the move and demanded that Duaik be released. European Parliament President Josep Borrell also criticized the arrest.

Israel has detained more than 30 Hamas officials, since Palestinian militants killed two Israeli soldiers and kidnapped another in June.

Israel's military has said a military offensive in the Gaza Strip will continue until the kidnapped soldier is freed.

On Saturday, an Israeli airstrike in southern Gaza killed at least five Palestinians, including two militants. At least three members of a family fleeing the southern town of Rafah were among those killed.

Israel says its offensive in Gaza, which began more than a month ago, is aimed at stopping Palestinian rocket attacks into Israel and securing the release of a Jewish soldier kidnapped by militants.

The United Nations says more than 175 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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