Hamas arrests more Fatah leaders in Gaza

detainees include senior Abbas reps; Hamas: This is a response to Fatah crackdown in West Bank.

hamas fatah great 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
hamas fatah great 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Hamas forces seized the leaders of Fatah in Gaza early Friday, Fatah officials said, upping the stakes in a week of tit-for-tat arrests between the bitter Palestinian rivals. Hamas security officers seized around 15 senior Fatah members from their homes in the roundup, the Fatah officials said. The men arrested Friday included three Fatah-affiliated district governors and the two highest Gaza representatives of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the officials said. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri would not confirm the number or the identity of those arrested, but said the arrests were a response to Fatah's seizures of "Hamas political leaders" in the West Bank. The Hamas crackdown was sparked by a mysterious July 25 explosion in Gaza that killed five Hamas members and a six-year-old girl. Hamas blamed Fatah for the blast and began rounding up Fatah men. Fatah denied the charge and launched its own retaliatory crackdown targeting Hamas men in the West Bank. Fatah says more than 200 of its men have been seized over the past week. Hamas has refused to reveal how many arrests have been made. Fatah has arrested roughly the same number of Hamas men in the West Bank. Abbas issued an order Thursday to free the detainees being held by Fatah, but it was not immediately clear if any had been released.