14 Released Hamas Members Turn Themselves in to Palestinian Police
Fourteen Hamas militants freed from prison by the Palestinian Authority in a gesture of defiance against Israel answered a summons and turned themselves in on Saturday, police said.
The move partly answered Israel's demand that they be re-arrested following the mass release of members of the Islamic militant movement from Palestinian jails after Israel's rocketing of Palestinian targets on Thursday.
Police said 35 members of Hamas had been freed over the past few days.
Also Saturday, a Hamas spiritual leader was arrested by Palestinian police in the Gaza Strip, the Islamic movement said.
Sheikh Ahmad Nimer Hamadan, 55-year-old imam at a mosque in the Gaza City town of Khan Yunes, drew the wrath of the Palestinian leadership when he lambasted them during Friday prayers.
Palestinian police were also hunting another leading Hamas figure, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, freed Thursday. His warrant was issued after he too criticized the Palestinian leadership shortly after his release, police said.
Israel, which has bolstered security fearing a wave of bomb attacks, called Friday on Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority to re-arrest all freed Hamas prisoners which it said included trained terrorists and bomb-makers.
"We regard it as a very severe development, and we believe it is the Palestinian Authority's responsibility that these people will be back in jail as soon as possible," government spokesman Nachman Shai said.
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