The Palestinian Authority (PA) has arrested 60 members of the resistance movement Hamas in a move that points to deteriorating relations between the two Palestinian factions.
A source from Hamas' office in the West Bank told AFP on Monday that the PA security officials had arrested scores of Hamas members in the territory.
"We received information that 60 members of Hamas were arrested throughout the West Bank," the anonymous source said without giving more details.
A source close to the PA, however, said 40 Hamas members had been arrested. Other reports suggest that the overall number of Hamas members arrested in the West Bank over the past weeks has exceeded 100.
The Palestinian Ma'an news agency, which is close to the PA, said the arrests began on Sunday with students and academics linked to the resistance group being detained. The report did not give more details on the exact number of people arrested.
PA security spokesperson, Adnan Dmeiri, said the detentions had not been politically motivated, saying that those arrested had broken the law.
Hamas slams the arrests
Hamas has condemned the move, saying that the security raids show that the PA is not willing to break security ties with Israel.
Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan (pictured above) told the Quds Press news agency that decision “was not worth the paper it was written on.”
The new PA crackdown on Hamas members operating in the West Bank further shows that ties between the two major Palestinian groups are deteriorating. Hamas and PA signed a unity deal in April 2014 to increase their cooperation and form a stronger front against the Israeli regime.
Negotiation for the implementation of the deal, however, stalled in summer after Israel launched a 50-day war on Gaza, which is under control of Hamas. The two sides also had disputes on how the besieged enclave should be ruled under the new agreement. Furthermore, they disagreed on the payment of wages to employees working in the administrative governments in Gaza and the West Bank.
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