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Ex-Fatah fighter denies being arrested in Jenin crackdown

May 6, 2012 1:02 P.M. (Updated: May 7, 2012 10:27 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Former Fatah fighter Zakaria Zubeidi said Sunday that he was not arrested by Palestinian Authority forces in Jenin, as mothers in the city protested against a sweep of arrests by PA forces.

Israeli media reported on Saturday that Zubeidi was arrested by PA forces as part of the security crackdown in the northern West Bank city.

The former leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Jenin confirmed to Ma'an that he was not arrested in the campaign, which saw dozens detained overnight.

Zubeidi led the Fatah-affiliated brigades during some of the fiercest fighting of the intifada, or uprising, and was wanted by Israel for many years before authorities granted pardons to hundreds of Fatah militants in 2007.

Jenin Security Commander Radi Asida said Sunday that security services were looking for suspects in a gun attack on the home of late Jenin governor Qaddura Musa, who died from a heart attack on Wednesday after the incident.

Suspects in murder cases, extortion and assaults were also being pursued, Asida said.

Dozens of mothers demonstrated near Jenin's security compound on Sunday in protest against the crackdown by PA forces, witnesses told Ma'an.

Protesters held signs calling for the release of their sons and chanted slogans criticizing the PA.

The northern West Bank city of Jenin became known as a center for Palestinian fighters during the second intifada, with many militant groups launching attacks on Israeli targets from the Jenin refugee camp.

In April 2011, Juliano Mer-Khamis, the General-Director of the Freedom Theater, was killed in Jenin. Unknown gunmen inside the city's refugee camp opened fire on his car, Jenin police said at the time.

Zubeidi and Mer-Khamis co-founded the Freedom Theater.
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