The Palestinian Authority has arrested more than 100 Hamas operatives in the West Bank over two days, saying the militants intended to operate against Israel.
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“They were planning to set up an infrastructure designed to strengthen Hamas in the West Bank, which would then operate against Israel and create security chaos,” a senior official said.
The arrests were the latest signs of the crisis in relations between Fatah and Hamas.
Hamas said Friday that among those arrested were students and former prisoners whom it said had been arrested for political reasons.
But PA sources said the arrests followed the recent attacks on Israeli targets in the West Bank, where there were fears Hamas was increasing its efforts.
Hamas’ spokesman in the Gaza Strip, Sami Abu Zuhri, said the arrests were made as part of the security coordination between Israel and the PA. He called this a further attempt to thwart Hamas’ “resistance” in the West Bank in an attempt to placate Israel, adding that the PA had no answers for the Palestinian people.
Senior Fatah officials said Fatah commanders and activists in Gaza had recently been resummoned for interrogations and detained. This only increased tensions and widened the rift between the two factions, the officials said.