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Gaza security forces release Fatah official after 2 months in prison

March 30, 2017 10:05 A.M. (Updated: March 30, 2017 5:43 P.M.)
A file photo of Arafat Abu Shabab.
GAZA (Ma’an) -- Fatah leader Arafat Abu Shabab was released on Wednesday after spending two months imprisoned in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Abu Shabab was detained by Gaza security forces on Jan. 29 as he attempted to enter the blockaded coastal enclave through the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

Abu Shabab had not returned to Gaza since he left a decade prior in 2007, following Hamas' election victory in 2006 which erupted into a violent conflict between Fatah and Hamas as both parties attempted to consolidate control over the territory.

Abu Shabab was also detained by Gaza security forces at the Rafah crossing when he attempted to return to the Gaza Strip in 2014.

Despite numerous attempts at reconciling the groups, Palestinian leadership has so far repeatedly failed to follow through on promises of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah -- the ruling parties in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority (PA) respectively -- as both movements have frequently blamed each other for numerous political failures.

Hamas and the PA have exchanged accusations of “politically motivated” arrests and trials and police brutality, blamed each other for the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Tensions have remained steady as the PA last month decided to hold local elections in the occupied West Bank on May 13 as scheduled, while Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were excluded from taking part, as Hamas announced it would boycott the election.
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