Hamas security forces march during a military review near a recently installed statue of a renovated helicopter belonging to late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
(photo credit: MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
Following threats made by Hamas leaders over the past few days, the Palestinian Authority on Sunday warned the group against launching terror attacks against members of the PA security forces in the West Bank.
Hamas’s threats followed the arrest of more than 120 of its members by various branches of the PA security forces in the West Bank in recent days. The PA justified the crackdown – the most severe against Hamas in recent years – by accusing the Islamist movement of working to undermine stability and stir chaos.
Gen. Adnan Dmeiri, spokesman for the PA security forces in the West Bank, warned that Hamas would face the “unimaginable” if it dared to carry out terror attacks against Palestinian security personnel.
“I hope that Hamas won’t test our patience, capabilities and love for our people,” he said.
Dmeiri added that there was no difference between the rhetoric used by Hamas and Islamic State. He accused Hamas leaders of incitement against PA President Mahmoud Abbas and PA security forces.
“We won’t allow Hamas or any other group to drag Palestine toward bloodshed,” Dmeiri vowed. “We will use all legal means to stop Hamas from plunging the West Bank into anarchy and bloodshed.”
He also rejected charges that the arrests had been politically motivated, insisting the Hamas men were being held for “security reasons.” He claimed that some of the detainees had confessed that they were planning to launch armed attacks against members of the PA security forces in the West Bank.
Last weekend, senior Hamas official Ismail al-Ashqar threatened that supporters would carry out attacks against the PA security forces in response to the latest massive security crackdown. He accused the PA security forces of coordinating security with Israel and “hindering resistance against occupation.”
Human rights activists in the West Bank reported that the PA security forces had arrested 148 Hamas supporters in the past few days. They said most of the arrests had taken place Thursday night and Friday morning.
Hassan Yousef, a prominent Hamas representative who was recently released from an Israeli prison, condemned the ongoing PA crackdown. He said the arrests showed that the PA security forces were being used as “tools to serve Israeli security,” adding that they were operating on instructions from Israel following the recent spate of terror attacks against Israelis.
The Hamas official also dismissed claims that his movement had been planning to cause chaos in the West Bank.