Hamas arrests are supposedly intended to prevent terror attacks intended to influence Israeli elections.
Palestinian Authority (PA) security services raided the PA-controlled areas on Monday and arrested dozens of Hamas supporters and operatives, Palestinian news agency Ma’an reports.
Hamas said in a statement that the arrests began on Sunday evening and continued into Monday, with detainees ostensibly including students and academics.
A source inside the terror organization’s headquarters, who asked to remain anonymous, told AFP that 60 members of Hamas were arrested. A PA security force official, also requesting anonymity, confirmed approximately 40 arrests, without elaborating on details.
It is likely that these arrests are taking place to prevent a possible Hamas terror attack that would aim to influence the Israeli elections next week.
This latest stage in the broadening rift between Hamas and Fatah is believed to be in response to the detention of senior Fatah official Mamoon Sweidan by Hamas security forces in Gaza a few days ago.
PA security spokesperson Adnan Dmeiri told news agencies that the arrests were not politically motivated, claiming that the suspects had broken the law.
Tensions between Hamas and Fatah, the PA’s ruling party, have been running high ever since the establishment of a unity government last spring. Both sides have made mutual accusations of corruption, graft and treason, have arrested each other’s operatives and have even planted bombs in an attempt to kill officials and leaders.
Ma’an points out that the US-trained PA security forces have been plagued by accusations of excessive violence during arrest raids.
Hamas: PA Working with Israel
Hamas spokesman Hussam Badran said that the arrest served as clear-cut evidence that security cooperation with Israel is ongoing.
The PLO Central Council (PCC) passed a resolution last week calling for the cessation of all security cooperation with Israel.
Badran blamed Israeli intelligence agencies for disclosing 80 percent Hamas’ “resistance actions” in the PA-controlled areas.
“These mass detentions confirm that the PA security bodies are committed to Israel’s security,” he added.
Badran decried the PCC’s resolution as “meaningless,” and demanded that PCC members “take a stand.”
The Hamas official further stated that he held PA head Mahmoud Abbas responsible for the arrests.
By: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel
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