Hamas arrests dozens of Fatah members

Fatah accuses Hamas of "abducting" dozens of its leaders in Gaza.

Tags: Hamas Fatah
Dalit Halevi ,

Hamas protests against Fatah
Hamas protests against Fatah
Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

The Fatah movement condemned on Sunday what it called the "abduction" of dozens of its leaders and operatives in Gaza by members of the Hamas movement, which controls Gaza.

A statement issued by the organization said that "this is unacceptable behavior that does not conform to the values and morals of the Palestinian people."

"This action reflects the true position and intentions of Hamas," the statement added.

Sources in Fatah claimed that the timing of the mass arrests of its operatives is related to the 54th anniversary of Fatah's armed struggle against Israel.

Hamas and Fatah, which is headed by Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, have been embroiled in a bitter rivalry since 2007, when Hamas violently took over Gaza from Fatah in a bloody coup.

The two organizations signed a reconciliation deal last October, under which the PA was to have resumed full control of Gaza by December 1.

That deadline, however, was initially put back by 10 days and had later reportedly hit “obstacles”. It has never been implemented and is one of many attempts that have failed over the years to ease the tensions between the two groups.

The rivalry between the groups intensified last year because of the punitive measures taken by the Palestinian Authority against Gaza.

PA security forces have also cracked down on Hamas in PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria. Just a few weeks ago, PA security forces broke up a Hamas protest in Hevron and used batons against both male and female demonstrators.