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Official: PA investigating Jenin camp protest over weapons

Jan. 14, 2013 7:24 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 17, 2013 11:07 A.M.)
JENIN (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority is investigating a protest in Jenin refugee camp demanding the return of weapons to the resistance, Jenin governor Talal Dweikat said Monday.

Dweikat played down the protest as the work of a few individuals seeking to "create chaos" for their personal interests. The governor told Ma'an that the only authorized weapons in Palestine were in the hands of on-duty security officers.

The PA will take legal action against those behind the protest, Dweikat added.

Around 15 armed men marched through Jenin refugee camp on Sunday demanding the return of weapons confiscated by PA security forces.

The protesters said they were Fatah members who supported President Mahmoud Abbas, but that they opposed some security leaders who they accused of targeting the resistance in refugee camps across the West Bank.

"Our demands come along with demands of the strugglers in Balata camp in Nablus and Duheishe camp in Bethlehem," the protesters said.

They called on the president to treat the resistance fairly and said many fighters had been oppressed in PA jails.

On Thursday, masked gunmen claiming affiliation to Fatah's military wing said they would fight back against the imprisonment of their members by PA security forces in Balata refugee camp.

Parading through the Nablus refugee camp, firing into the air with semi-automatic weapons, the group said they were defending Abbas against a takeover of the West Bank.

At a press conference in Balata a masked representative appealed to the president to form a committee of inquiry to examine what he described as an arrest campaign targeting Fatah members across the West Bank.

He called for Palestinian National Security chief Maj. Gen. Nidal Abu Dukhan and other security heads to be held accountable.

"They have two choices, to live in dignity or die with honor," the representative warned.

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