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Hamas and Fatah accuse each other of 'politically motivated' arrests

Jan. 17, 2017 6:08 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 17, 2017 7:50 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas and Fatah accused each other on Tuesday of carrying out “politically motivated” arrests in the besieged Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank respectively.

Spokesperson of Fatah in the Gaza Strip Hassan Ahmad said that the Hamas-run security service in the Gaza Strip recently detained “several” members of the Fatah movement, including Fatah’s secretary in central Gaza Said Musbah and member of Fatah’s leadership Rafat Wishah, without providing further details.

Ahmad condemned the detention raids, saying that “these arrests and raids continuously carried out by Hamas’ security services are nationally rejected for the negative consequences they have on the brotherly, social, and national relations."

He called for the immediate release of the detainees and for an end to detention raids targeting Fatah members in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, the Hamas movement released a statement in Arabic on its official website saying that Palestinian Authority (PA) security services in the occupied West Bank had carried out “politically motivated” arrests there.

In the northern West Bank district of Tulkarem, PA intelligence services detained Qusay Imad from the the town of Qaffin on Tuesday morning, while the PA continued to hold Ashraf Fudeh, Abd al-Muti Farhaneh, Akram Atta, Mither Khreis, Raed Qawzah, Ahmad Abd al-Rabbu, Muhammad al-Sruji, and Omar Turk for the third consecutive week, according to Hamas.

Hamas said that the “political detainee” Nathir Muhammad Nassar declared an open hunger strike protesting his detention by the PA’s preventive security services after being held for eight days.

Hamas identified Nasser as a former prisoner and Islamic Jihad member who has spent more than nine years in Israeli prisons.

According to Hamas, PA preventive security also detained high school student Diyaa Jamal al-Afifi from his house in the al-Duheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem, over accusations of “defamation of high profile people.”

In the northern district of Qalqiliya, Hamas said that PA intelligence services summoned Anas Yahya Assaf from the Kafr Laqif, a student at the Palestine Polytechnic University, to appear for questioning for next Thursday.

In Hebron, PA intelligence summoned Assaf’s “colleague” as well, identified by Hamas as Alaa Ahmad Hmeidat.

Hamas also said in their statement that PA intelligence services in Ramallah continued to hold Birzeit University student Abd al-Latif Subuh for the third day, while his colleague Mustafa Beirat entered his ninth day in detention.

The detentions came as the rival political factions continued to blame each other for an ongoing electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip that left the majority of Palestinians there with only three hours of power a day for more than a week.

Fatah and Hamas have been embroiled in conflict since Hamas' election victory in 2006 elections in the Gaza Strip, which erupted into a violent conflict between the two movements as both attempted to consolidate control over the territory.

Despite numerous attempts at reconciling the groups, Palestinian leadership has repeatedly failed to follow through on promises of reconciliation and holding of long-overdue elections, as both movements have frequently blamed each other for numerous political failures.

Officials from the Fatah-led PA have criticized Hamas for creating a shadow government in the Gaza Strip and blocking efforts to reach political unity.

Hamas has in turn accused the PA of executing a plan to "eradicate" the movement from the West Bank, accusing Fatah of “escalating security collaboration” with the Israeli authorities through politically-motivated arrests and “adopting a revolving door policy" funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons.
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