08/01/2008, 00.00
PALESTINE
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Hamas arrests 15 Fatah officials in Gaza

There is no end to intra-Palestinian factionalism. The action seems to be Hamas’ answer to arrests of its activists by Fatah in the West Bank over the past few weeks. Fatah leader cannot hide his concern that divisions among Palestinians might become unbridgeable.
Gaza (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Tensions between Hamas and Fatah are up in the Gaza Strip after the former’s security services arrested 15 top officials from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement. Anonymous Fatah sources said that among those arrested are three local governors and two top officials appointed by Abbas.

A Hamas spokesman did not confirm the identity of the people arrested, nor their number, but said the arrests in the Gaza Strip were in response to the detention of Hamas officials on the West Bank.

Hamas leader Sami Abu Zuhri said the arrests in the Gaza Strip were meant to put pressure on Abbas's security forces to release Hamas activists still locked up.

Today’s arrests are also tied to the bombings in the Gaza Strip, one of which killed five Hamas members and a six-year-old girl on 25 July.

Hamas blamed Fatah for the blasts, arresting hundreds. Fatah flatly denied the charge and proceeded to arrest Hamas members in the West Bank.

Yesterday Abbas ordered the release of all pro-Hamas activists, but it is unclear whether the detainees were freed or not.

What is certain is that the rising tensions could lead to unbridgeable divisions among Palestinians, said Fatah official Abdallah Abdallah.

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