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Gaza security forces detain Fatah member at Rafah crossing

Jan. 29, 2017 12:29 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 29, 2017 7:46 P.M.)
(File)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- Gaza security forces detained Fatah leader Arafat Abu Shabab early on Sunday morning while he attempted to return to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing, after leaving the besieged coastal enclave 10 years ago.

Abu Shabab's brother told Ma'an that Hamas security forces detained Abu Shabab at the crossing at 2 a.m. on Sunday, amid a three-day opening of the Rafah border terminal, which is sealed by Egyptian authorities for the majority of the year.

He added that Abu Shabab left Gaza in 2007, following Hamas' election victory in 2006, which erupted into a violent conflict between the Fatah and Hamas as both attempted to consolidate control over the territory.

Ma'an reported in 2014 that Abu Shabab was also detained by Gaza security forces at the Rafah crossing when he attempted to return to Gaza Strip at the time.

Sunday's incident came after Fatah and Hamas officials met earlier this month to discuss political reconciliation and the eventual formation of a unity government, with Fatah officials affirming that the internal Palestinian divisions “should end in a short time.”

Reports of reconciliation talks in past weeks have come as Hamas and the PA have exchanged accusations of carrying out “politically motivated” arrests, and blamed each other for an ongoing electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip which left the majority of Palestinians there with only three hours of power a day for more than a week.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, a Gaza military court sentenced eight Palestinians affiliated to the Fatah party -- three of whom to life in prison -- for allegedly gathering information about Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza for intelligence forces of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Despite numerous attempts at reconciling the groups, Palestinian leadership has so far 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.
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