Prison jail generic.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday ordered the
release of six Hamas detainees who were on hunger strike in a PA prison
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Israel Radio reported that one of the prisoners, Wael al-Bitar was involved in a terror attack near Kiryat Arba in which 4 Israelis were killed, and another of the prisoners was involved in a Dimona area terror attack.
Bitar had also been imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority in the
past and released after which he returned to terrorist activities, according to the Israel Radio report.
The six men were identified as Bitar, Majdi Obaid, Ahmed al-Uwaiwi, Muhanad Nairoukh, Wisam Qawasmeh and Mohammed Sukiyeh.
The PA security forces said the Hamas detainees were released on the
direct orders of Abbas and in accordance with an old ruling by the PA's
High Court of Justice.
According to a PA security official, the men were not released earlier
for "security reasons related to their personal safety" – apparently out
of fear that they would be arrested by Israel.
The official claimed that the Hamas detainees went on hunger strike on
instructions from the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip and Syria with
the aim of embarrassing the PA.
"Unfortunately, Hamas exploited this humanitarian case in an ugly way to
advance its own interests," the PA security official charged.
Kamel Hmeid, the PA governor of Hebron, said that Abbas decided to
release the Hamas men out of concern for "national unity" and to pave
the way for ending the crisis between Fatah and Hamas.
"This year is the year of national unity," Hmeid said, referring to
ongoing efforts to solve the Fatah-Hamas dispute. "We are hoping to end
internal divisions and secure the release of all prisoners [in PA and
The governor appealed to Hamas to release all Fatah inmates who are also
on hunger strike in its prisons in the Gaza Strip. He also called on
the Islamist movement to stop the "incitement" against Fatah and the PA
in the West Bank.
Hamas welcomed the release of the six detainees and called on the PA to
release all the Hamas supporters from its prisons, A Hamas official
claimed that the detainees were released following the intervention of
the emir of Qatar, who phoned Abbas and urged him to free them.
Hamas claims that there are hundreds of its supporters and members in
various PA prisons. Hamas has conditioned the resumption of
reconciliation talks with Fatah on the release of all its men.
The decision to release the six Hamas men also came after leaders of the
movement offered Abbas their condolences over the death of his elder
brother, Ata, in Syria earlier this week.
Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Zahar phoned Abbas, while a
Hamas delegation from the West Bank visited him in his office in