Hamas agrees to release journalists after protests
Gaza group claimed journalists had plotted to foil attempts to achieve reconciliation between the Islamist movement and Fatah.
Hamas supporters rally in Hebron Photo: REUTERS
Following a wave of protests, Hamas agreed Monday to release a number of
Palestinian journalists and bloggers who were detained last week in the Gaza
Hamas claimed that the journalists and bloggers had plotted to
foil attempts to achieve reconciliation between the Islamist movement and
Ehab al-Ghissin, spokesman for the Hamas government, said that
Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh ordered the release of the detainees “despite the
sensitivity of the case.”
Hamas security sources claimed that the
detainees were part of a network that operated in the Gaza Strip on instructions
from ousted Fatah operative Muhammad Dahlan.
Dahlan, a former security
commander in the Gaza Strip, was expelled from Fatah last year after a
disagreement with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
supporters recently disrupted a Fatah-sponsored rally in Gaza City marking the
48th anniversary of the faction’s first terror attack against
Dahlan, who has been living in the United Arab Emirates since his
expulsion from Fatah, has since been waging a smear campaign against Abbas and
several top Fatah leaders.
He is an elected member of the Palestinian
Legislative Council. Abbas had also signed an order stripping him of his
Last week, Hamas detained six journalists and
bloggers in the Gaza Strip after raiding their homes and confiscating computers
The crackdown drew sharp condemnations from the
Palestinian Journalists Syndicate and a number of human rights
Some of the detainees were arrested for posting comments
on Facebook criticizing Hamas.
The journalists denied allegations that
the detainees had acted on instructions from Dahlan or any other official or
party. The journalists and bloggers were arrested because of their political
views and not for conspiring against Hamas or Palestinian reconciliation, they
The detainees have been identified as Ashraf Abu Khsaiwan,
Majdi Islim, Omar al-Dahoudi, Munir Juma’ah, Mustafa Migdad and Juma’ah
The families of the detainees said that their sons went on a
hunger strike over the weekend to protest their incarceration.
Hamas accused PA security forces of arresting six of its supporters in the West
Bank over the past 24 hours.
Hamas said most of those arrested had
recently been released from Israeli prison.