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Gaza government to release 100 detainees as Ramadan gesture

Aug. 19, 2009 9:27 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 20, 2009 7:28 P.M.)
Gaza – Ma’an – The Hamas-run de facto government in the Gaza Strip decided on Tuesday to release 50 Fatah-affiliated detainees, who were allegedly detained for “security reasons,” and 50 more criminal prisoners as a goodwill gesture ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The decision came during the government’s 122th meeting headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. The cabinet session addressed political and security issues, particularly Friday’s battle in the city of Rafah between Hamas and the ultra-Islamic group Jund Ansar Allah, which left 24 dead.

The de facto government expressed sorrow for what happened in Rafah, called the confrontation with Jund Ansar Allah inevitable because the group violated the law and ‘terrorized’ the public. Security forces were compelled to respond, the government argued, in order to restore order in Rafah.

Referring to the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) decision to convene the Palestinian National Council, the de facto government said this was counter to what Hamas and Fatah agreed on during negotiations in Cairo. They said that under the understandings with Fatah, the PLO should first be reformed and reconstructed allowing Islamic groups (including Hamas) to join before its institutions can convene.
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