PA official: Israel pardons 32 Fatah gunmen

PA officials say the men completed a "trial period" during which they refrained from perpetrating attacks.

Fatah gunmen 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
Fatah gunmen 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Israel has informed the Palestinian Authority that it will stop pursuing 32 Fatah gunmen in the West Bank, a PA security official said Sunday. The official said the decision to pardon the gunmen belonging to Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, came after a three-month "trial period" during which they had refrained from carrying out attacks on Israel. "The names of the gunmen have been completely removed from Israel's list of wanted Palestinians," the official said. "From now on, the gunmen will be allowed to move around freely and without fear of being targeted by Israel." Over the past three months, the gunmen stayed in PA security installations after surrendering their weapons and signing a pledge to refrain from terror activities. The move was part of a deal reached between the PA and Israel under the auspices of the US. According to the PA official, the "trial period" for another 178 Fatah gunmen has been extended for another three months, during which the gunmen will be required to stay in PA security installations before they receive a final pardon from Israel. During the second "trial period," none of the gunmen will be targeted by Israel. Among them is Zakariya Zubeidi, commander of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in Jenin, who, according to sources in the city, continues to carry a pistol for "self-defense." One of the gunmen who received a final pardon from Israel is Muhammad Shehadeh, commander of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in Tulkarm. He said that he had abided by the US-brokered agreement and had stayed inside a PA security facility for the past three months. Meanwhile, Israel returned the bodies of two Hamas terrorists who carried out the suicide bombing in Dimona last week to Hebron on Sunday afternoon, Israel Radio reported. Monday's attack killed Lubov Razdolskaya, 73, and wounded 40 others.