Israeli troops invaded several areas in the West Bank late Wednesday night into the early hours of Thursday morning, abducting 64 Palestinian officials, including 8 ministers, 20 lawmakers, and a mayor. Israel announced that arrests of Hamas-affiliated lawmakers will continue, stating that Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is not immune from being targeted for arrest.

Israeli officials said the Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniya is not immune and could be arrested.

Haniya is a Gaza resident and arresting him would require a major invasion to the Gaza Strip.

Local sources reported that Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Al-Sha’er  was abducted on Thursday, though Hamas denied these reports.

In a press conference, Deputy chair of the Palestinian Legislative Council Ahmad Bahar called for the United Nations Security Council to look into the Israeli offensive against the Palestinian People.

The Palestinian News Agency, WAFA, reported that soldiers arrested the head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Dr. Aziz Dweik, after surrounding a building in Al Baloa’ neighborhood in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Troops in Ramallah also surrounded a residential building and arrested the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Dr. Nasser Al Deen Al Sha’er, the Minister of Finance Dr. Omar Abdul-Raziq, Minister of Detainees Wasfi Qabha, and Minister of Planning Samir Abu Aisha.  

Soldiers also arrested Palestinian Labor Minister Mohammad Al Barghouthi after stopping him at a checkpoint at Bir Zeit University near Ramallah shortly after midnight. He was taken to an unknown location.

Ashraf, the brother of minister Al Barghouthi, said the soldiers blindfolded his brother and took him to an unknown location.   

Al Barghouthi was heading back home with his brother to Kober village near Ramallah after conducting a TV interview.

In Jerusalem, Israeli soldiers arrested Legislators Ahmad Atwan, Wa’el Al Hosseiny, and Mohammad Abu Teir after breaking into their homes.

The brother of legislator Wa’el Al Hosseiny told WAFA that Israeli troops detonated an explosive at the door of his brother’s house in the Al Dahia area near Jerusalem and violently broke into his house.

Local sources in Jerusalem reported that a huge military force participated in the attack and that the legislators arrested were all taken to unknown locations.

Troops continued their raid into the West Bank by invading the city of Hebron and arresting Minister of Waqf and Islamic Affairs Nayef Al Rajoub and legislators Khleel Rib’ey, from Yatta village, and Basim Al Za’areer, from Al Samoa’.

Senior Palestinian sources reported that Israeli security forces and soldiers, supported by several military vehicles, broke into the house of Khaled Abu Arafa, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, in Jerusalem and arrested him.

Israeli soldiers also raided Bethlehem, arresting Palestinian Legislative Council member Anwar Zboun. His location is not currently known.  

Legislators Khaled Sa’id and Hamas legislative council spokesperson Khaled Suleiman were arrested in the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

Troops invaded the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, breaking into the homes of Mayor Wajeeh Qawwas and his Deputy, Hashim Al Masry. Both were arrested.

Qawwas was elected mayor of Qalqilia while he was imprisoned in Israel. He was released just last month.

Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers surrounded a hotel in Ramallah where several Hamas legislators and ministers are holed up and called them to surrender.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyya said earlier in the day that Israel should halt its attack against the Gaza Strip, adding that the Israeli military escalation “complicates the situation” instead of properly solving the crisis of the abducted soldier in the Gaza Strip.  

Haniyya added that the American position that supports the declared wide-scale military operation “gives Israel a green light to resume its assault on the Gaza Strip and ignores the suffering of the Palestinian people."

Several Hamas supporters and leaders were also arrested in the raid.   

The arrests are part of the ongoing Israeli attack against the Hamas-led Palestinian government while Israeli troops continue their shelling of the Gaza Strip as part of the “Summer Rain” military offensive ordered by the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.