PA nabs 66 Hamas supporters as unity talks fail

Hamas announces that the PA has arrested 66 of its supporters in W. Bank including 32 former prisoners held by Israel.

March 5, 2013 17:20
PA police grapple with Hamas supporters

PA police grapple with Hamas supporters 370. (photo credit: Ammar Awad/Reuters)

The Palestinian Authority security forces have arrested 66 Hamas supporters in the West Bank during the month of February, the Gaza-based Islamist movement announced Tuesday.

In a report, Hamas said that among those arrested were 32 former prisoners [held by Israel], three university students, a journalist and a teacher.

The report said that PA security forces also summoned another 38 Hamas supporters and leaders for interrogation.

Ten Hamas supporters were ordered remanded into custody despite court decisions to release them, the report said.

The arrests come as efforts to achieve reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah appear to have failed.

Hamas said Tuesday that the reconciliation efforts failed because of US pressure on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to refrain from reaching any agreement with the movement.

Salah Bardaweel, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, said that Abbas has "sold the reconciliation in return for an American smile."

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