Over 30 pro-Fatah supporters who fled to Israel after fierce clashes in the Gaza Strip were sent back there on Sunday and were immediately detained by Hamas security forces, a Hamas official said. According to Reuters, the men were among 180 members of Fatah faction granted refuge in Israel late Saturday after nine Palestinians were killed and 95 were hurt during a Hamas raid on their Gaza City neighbourhood.
"After the (Israeli) occupation refused to receive most of those who fled Gaza, dozens have returned and the Palestinian police have taken them into custody," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said. The fugitives are members of the pro-Fatah Hilles clan.
A spokesman for Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas had asked Israel to send the Fatah men back to the Gaza Strip. He said the wounded would remain in Israel for treatment and the rest would be returned to the Hamas-held territory.
Fatah leader Hussein Al-Shaikh, the senior civil affairs official in the Palestinian Authority, conveyed: "We are discussing with the Israelis how to allow the people to return to Gaza."