Jerusalem (CNN) -- Israeli forces have arrested a senior Hamas operative they say is responsible for killing more than 70 Israelis in various terrorist attacks, the Israel Defense Forces said Sunday.
Maher U'dda, who had been wanted since the end of the 1990s, was arrested Saturday night in a joint operation by Israeli police and security forces in Ramallah, on the West Bank, the IDF said.
"Pinpoint intelligence information" from the Israel Security Agency led to the arrest, they said.
U'dda, who is in his early 40s, was one of the founders of Hamas in Ramallah and lives in a village northeast of the city, the IDF said.
In the early 1990s, he formed a Hamas cell in his village that abducted and interrogated Palestinians suspected of cooperating with Israel, the IDF said.
The cell demanded weapons as ransom and used them in terrorist attacks, according to the IDF statement.
Palestinian security forces investigated U'dda in 1998 and held him in a prison for several months, the IDF said.
During the Palestinian uprising that began in 2000, U'dda helped organize and manage a Hamas military cell responsible for killing 10 Israelis, the IDF said.
"U'dda's arrest is the final stage of thwarting Hamas' military headquarters in Ramallah, which executed various terror attacks and is responsible for the murder of more than 70 Israelis," the IDF statement said.