Palestinian Prime Minister, Ahmad Qurei, said on Sunday that Israel is carrying assaults against peace and stability in the area, after striking the Gaza Strip over night, and arresting 210 residents in the West Bank on Sunday at dawn.

“This policy is considered a serious escalation and a dangerous provocation”, Qurei said, “Israel shelled Gaza, closed the crossings, and arrested 210 residents in the West Bank”.    

Also Qurei added that the Israeli policy is considered a direct assault against the peace process, and added that the Israeli withdrawal was successful as a result of Palestinian cooperation, and extensive efforts. 

Earlier in Sunday at dawn, Israeli soldiers arrested 210 members and supporters of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in several Palestinian areas in the West Bank.

Military Apaches, armored vehicles and hundreds of military jeeps invaded Bethlehem, Nablus, Jenin, Hebron, and Tulkarem.

Thirty residents were arrested in the West Bank city of Ramallah, 35 residents in Bethlehem, seventy in Nablus, and thirty in Nablus, Jenin, Qalqilia, and Tulkarem.

Among the arrestees, senior West Bank Hamas officials Sheikh Hasan Yousef, Sheikh Fathi Al Qarawi, and Mohammad Ghazal.

The arrests were carried out after the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and his Minister of Defense, Shaul Mofaz, decided to escalate the military operations in the Palestinian occupied territories.

Sharon said that he ordered his army to hit the Palestinian groups “with no limitation”.

“I have ordered the army to hit them, hit their equipment, and hideouts, with no limitation”, Sharon said at the beginning of his government’s weekly session.