Wednesday, September 15, 2010

(NEWS) 800 Arrested In Massive Palestinian Crackdown On Hamas, Islamists Throughout West Bank

"The Palestinian Authority has intensified its crackdown on the Islamic opposition.

PA security forces, in what was termed an unprecedented crackdown, have rounded up nearly 800 alleged Hamas supporters over the last two weeks. In the latest security operations, Hamas reported the PA arrest of 35 political operatives throughout the West Bank.

'It has renewed its campaign against [Hamas] leaders and affiliates,' Hamas said on Sept. 13.

The crackdown was also said to have included the Hizb Tahrir movement, which has opposed Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Over the last few weeks, PA forces have raided West Bank mosques during gatherings by Hizb followers as well as sermons by clerics linked to the pan-Islamist movement.

Hamas reported resistance to the PA crackdown against the Islamic opposition. The statement said PA forces were met by stone-throwing Palestinians during a raid in the northern city of Nablus. Hamas said PA units opened fire.

'It will not keep silent for long in the face of the continued arrest campaign and the pursuit of party leaders by security departments in the West Bank,' Hamas said. 'Our patience has begun to run out.'

The crackdown on Hamas was regarded as the worst under the administration of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. The PA arrests were prompted by the Hamas killing of four Israeli civilians south of Hebron on Aug. 31.

Hamas said the PA crackdown took place in virtually every city in the West Bank as well as Jerusalem. Several leading Hamas figures in detention were identified as Palestinian Legislative Council member Hamad Bitawi and political leader Majid Hamami.

Many of those arrested were brought to Jneid prison in Nablus because of overcrowding in other PA facilities. The crackdown was said to have been directed by the PA's Preventive Security Apparatus.

'This is a desperate attempt to quell the resistance,' Hamas said.

The PA has denied Hamas arrest figures. But a senior security source said hundreds of Hamas supporters have been detained and interrogated in the aftermath of two Hamas attacks on Israelis." (source)

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