Palestinian Authority Arrests Former Militant Zakaria Zubeidi

Reason for the arrest in Jenin of former Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade commander is unknown.

Avi Issacharoff
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Avi Issacharoff

Palestinian Authority security forces arrested Zakaria Zubeidi, former commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, in Jenin on Saturday. The reason for the arrest is unknown.

Zubeidi is considered to be one of the most powerful people in the city’s refugee camp, and lately there have been signs of tension between him and the Palestinian Authority. Fatah's secretary general in Jenin, Ita Abu Ramila, extradited Zubeidi into Palestinian Authority security forces custody.

Zakaria Zubeidi Credit: Daniel Bar On

Last week, Jenin District Governor Kadura Musa died of a heart attack after unknown assailants fired shots at his home. At first, a theory arose attributing the attacks to gunmen loyal to a clan that suffered the loss of a member at the hands of Palestinian police two weeks prior to the shooting. It is not known if there is a connection between Zubeidi, Abu Ramila, and the shots fired at the governor’s home.

Zubeidi, who was granted amnesty by Israel nearly two and a half years ago, had has status changed to “wanted” once again in late 2011. Then, Palestinian security forces informed Zubeidi that due to Israeli requests, he was required to remain held at a security forces compound or else Israel would find and arrest him. Nearly a week later, his “wanted” status was removed.

In the summer of 2007, an agreement was reached between the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Israel, in which 178 Brigade activists desisted from all terrorist activities and turned their weapons into the Palestinian Authority in exchange for amnesty. As part of the agreement, Zubeidi received amnesty as well. Then, Zubeidi claimed that Brigade members committed to cease attacking Israel and joined the Palestinian Authority security forces before he received any guarantees that Israel would not act against them.

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