fawzi barhoum 248.88.
(photo credit: Channel 2 [file])
A senior Hamas official revealed over the weekend that he hid in the home of a Fatah activist in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead.
Fawzi Barhoum, a prominent Hamas spokesman and a member of the movement's delegation to the reconciliation talks with Fatah, did not reveal the identity of the Fatah activist.
However, Barhoum said the man used to work in the Fatah-controlled security forces in Gaza before Hamas's violent takeover of the Strip in June 2007. He also said that the Fatah man was still in touch with the Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank.
"He provided me with shelter and logistical support as I was hiding inside his house during the war," Barhoum added. "Another Fatah man joined us days later and even escorted me to different places."
Barhoum made the revelation during a seminar in Gaza City on the role of the Palestinian media during the war.
His remarks came as a surprise to many Hamas and Fatah supporters among the audience; they reacted with thunderous applause and a standing ovation.
During Operation Cast Lead, Fatah officials accused Hamas of executing, torturing and maiming more than 100 Fatah members in the Gaza Strip on suspicion of "collaboration" with Israel.
The officials said that Hamas militiamen also imposed an indefinite curfew on hundreds of Fatah activists as a precautionary measure.
Hamas spokesmen claimed the crackdown was necessary because some Fatah members were openly colluding with Israel against their government in Gaza. Hamas also accused Fatah activists of providing Israel with information on the location of its institutions and the whereabouts of some of its leaders.
In a separate development, Hamas policemen on Saturday detained three top Fatah officials on suspicion that they were planning to participate in a political rally on the campus of Gaza City's Al-Azhar University.
The three - former Fatah cabinet minister Abdel Rahman Hamad and senior operatives Jamal Obeid and Mahmoud Qannan - were released hours later thanks to the intervention of Islamic Jihad leaders.
A spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry said the men were detained for questioning because they were planning to attend an unauthorized political gathering of Fatah cadres on the campus.
Ibrahim Abu al-Naja, a senior Fatah representative in Gaza, condemned the detention of his colleagues, saying it could harm Egyptian efforts to end the rift between Hamas and Fatah.
Another top Fatah activist in the Strip, Fuad Madi, complained that masked men torched his car on Friday night. He said he did not know who was behind the arson, but that he had been the target of Hamas threats over the past few weeks.