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      PA Refuses to Allow Fleeing Fatah Loyalists into Judea, Samaria

      PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas refused to allow 180 Fatah fighters to take refuge in Judea and Samaria following bloody clashes with Hamas in Gaza.
      By Hana Levi Julian
      First Publish: 8/2/2008, 11:24 PM / Last Update: 8/3/2008, 11:24 AM

      Israel News Photo: (file)

      Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas has told Defense Minister Ehud Barak the PA is not accepting the more than 180 terrorists who fled from the Hamas terrorist army Saturday night.

      Israel is being forced to send the Fatah loyalists back to Gaza, except for several terrorists it agreed to send to Israeli hospitals for medical care. Those are also to be sent back to Gaza, after they recover from wounds suffered in the bloody clashes that killed nine Hamas and Fatah terrorists and wounded 88 others.

      Thirty-four of the Fatah-aligned terrorists were sent back Sunday morning. They are members of the Hilles clan, which Hamas has charged was behind last week's bombing that killed five Hamas terrorists and a little girl. Abbas did not explain why he would not accept the clan members after Israel agreed to allow them to cross from Gaza.

      The bloody clashes with Hamas were the worst to hit the region since the faction seized control in June 2007.  Dozens of Fatah terrorists were allowed to cross the Nahal Oz and Erez terminals after disarming and going through an interrogation process, including a number who were evacuated to Israeli hospitals.

      As the evacuations were taking place, Gaza terrorists shelled Jewish communities in the western Negev  in another violation of the temporary truce brokered by Egypt in June. The five-week-old tahadiyeh, or "calm," was disrupted after terrorists attacked southern Israel with five mortars. All of the shells exploded in open areas, and no one was injured.

      It is believed the shelling was aimed at IDF soldiers assisting in the rescue of the injured and fleeing Fatah terrorists.

      Many of the injured terrorists were from the Hilles clan, whose stronghold in Gaza City was attacked by Hamas during the day on Saturday. Hamas claims that a senior member of the clan, Abu-Ramzi Hilles, masterminded the surfside explosion a week ago.  A Hamas spokesman said senior Fatah bomb expert Zaki el-Shani, who was alleged to have organized the blast together with Hilles, was arrested during the raid on the compound.