Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri warned Tuesday that the Fatah crackdown on the rival Hamas terrorist party in Judea and Samaria could spark a revolt. A Fatah leader dismissed the threats as being made by "irresponsible people."
Fatah has arrested hundreds of Hamas members and leaders and is closing down businesses, schools and institutions associated with Hamas.
Hamas, which ousted Fatah from political power in Gaza after bloody clashes in June 2007, has charged that Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are cooperating with Israel by trying to wipe out Hamas's strength.
"Now the Zionists [Israelis] are protecting you," Hamas said in a statement addressed to PA forces in Judea and Samaria. "You know that once the protection of the Zionists is over, people will enter your headquarters and kick you out."
A Fatah military officer challenged Hamas to try to stage a revolt. "What are they waiting for? Why is it allowed for them to kill and arrest people in Gaza?" he said.
Hamas has arrested more than 200 Fatah members in Gaza, and Fatah has retaliated in Judea and Samaria, causing an overflow in PA jails.