Israeli soldiers invaded on Thursday at dawn several Palestinian cities and towns and kidnapped the Palestinian Education Minister along at least thirty mayors, legislators and officials and Hamas supporters.

In the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, troops broke into the house of education minister, Nasser Ed-Deen Al Sha’er, in Al Ma’ajeen area, searched his house and took him to an unknown destination.

The invasion was carried out by several armored vehicles and jeeps, local sources reported.

Also in Nablus, troops kidnapped two Hamas legislators identified as Hamid Al Beetawi and Daoud Abu Seer, in addition to the Mayor of Nablus Adli Ya’ish, Mayor of Beita Arab Al Shurafa, head of the Waqf department in Nablus Fayyad Al Aghbar, and several Hamas members in the city.

In the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, soldiers kidnapped Qalqilia mayor Sheikh Wajeeh Qawwas, and also kidnapped Hashim Khadir, 35, an employee working at the Palestinian Ministry of Education in Qalqilia.

It is worth mentioning that Qawwas was kidnapped three times since 2000, and was elected as the mayor of Qalqilia in mid 2005 while he is imprisoned. Palestinian security sources reported that dozens of military vehicles invaded Qalqilia from the eastern and northern entrances and deployed in several neighborhoods while firing rounds of live ammunition and concussion grenades.

In the southern West Bank city of Hebron, soldiers kidnapped Sufian Jamjoum, one of the political leaders of Hamas after breaking into his house in Jabal Al Rumman area. The recent military escalation and the abduction of Palestinian officials came after a recent Israeli cabinet decision to carry an large scaled military offensive in the Gaza Strip, and massive arrests in the West Bank.

This is the second masive arrest campaign that targets senior Palestinian officials, mainly Hamas members and supporters, since last summer after the Palestinian resistance captured the israelo Corporal Gilad Shalit.