'PA arrests Hamas man at no. 1 on 'most wanted' list'

Palestinian sources say al-Kawasma arrested in Hebron; IDF also tried to catch him the past; suspect has been on PA's wanted list since 1998.

December 31, 2010 17:21
1 minute read.
Masked Hamas men prepare for press conference

Hamas masks news conference Gaza 311. (photo credit: AP)

Palestinian security forces on Friday said they have arrested a wanted Hamas official in the West Bank, al-Kawasma, who has been described as number one on the Palestinian Authority's "most wanted" list since 1998.

Security forces told Ma'an news agency that the man was arrested Thursday in the Hebron area. According to the reports, the IDF has also tried to arrest the man in the past.

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The arrest comes after the Palestinian Authority threatened to deport 50 Hamas leaders from the West Bank, according to a claim by the Islamist movement on Sunday.

The unprecedented threat was seen as yet another sign of mounting tensions between the Fatah-dominated PA in the West Bank and the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.

It’s not clear to where the Hamas leaders would be deported. The PA security forces would not be able to carry out such a step without coordinating with Israel.

A senior PA security official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post that he was unaware of any decision to deport Hamas members. The official accused the Hamas leadership of “lies and fabrications.”

Since Saturday, scores of Hamas officials and activists have been summoned to the headquarters of the PA’s General Intelligence Service in Ramallah, where they were reportedly informed that they may be deported.

Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report

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