Hamas kidnaps, then releases top Fatah official

Mediators from a number of Islamic countries are trying to persuade Hamas and Fatah to resume unity government negotiations.

fatah  hamas clash 298.8 (photo credit: AP [file])
fatah hamas clash 298.8
(photo credit: AP [file])
Hamas gunmen kidnapped former PA minister Sufyan Abu Zaidah of Fatah. Abu Zaidah's son, Basel, said the kidnappers seized his father in the northern Gaza Strip while he was on the way to visit the family of a Fatah activist shot earlier in the day by Hamas members. Abu Zaidah was released after intensive negotiations, as were at least eight other Fatah and Hamas members kidnapped by either side during the day's fighting. Hamas militiamen dug up the grave of a top Fatah official who was killed Sunday and removed his body, the sources said. Adnan Rahami was kidnapped and subsequently executed by Hamas supporters in the northern Gaza Strip. He had been buried near the headquarters of a Hamas security force - a move that apparently angered Hamas followers.
  • Abu Zaidah recalls his late night captivity Mediators from a number of Islamic countries are trying to persuade Hamas and Fatah to resume unity government negotiations despite Abbas's decision to call early elections. Ahmed Yussuf, political adviser to PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, said several parties were involved in the mediation efforts, but refused to name them. He expressed hope that the cease-fire theoretically in place between Hamas and Fatah would lead to the resumption of the unity talks. Abbas is planning to meet in Gaza with representatives of the various Palestinian factions to discuss ways of implementing the cease-fire between Hamas and Fatah. The officials did not rule out the possibility that Abbas would also meet with Haniyeh. Both Hamas and Fatah officials emphasized their readiness to abide by the cease-fire that was announced late Sunday in Gaza City, although representatives of the two parties were not present during the announcement. The cease-fire was declared by representatives of other factions, including Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Despite the cease-fire, sporadic violence was reported in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Hamas and Fatah leaders continue to trade accusations over responsibility for the latest flare-ups. PA security sources said a Fatah activist was killed in the northern Gaza Strip during a shootout with Hamas gunmen. Another eight people were wounded during the clashes. Also Monday, Hamas gunmen kidnapped five Fatah members in the Gaza Strip: Hilal Yaghi, Ahmed Madhoun, Mahmoud Rabah, Ismail Hanya and Muhammad Radwan. In response, Fatah gunmen kidnapped Imad Dib, a senior member of the armed wing of Hamas, Izaddin Kassam. Unidentified gunmen also kidnapped two PA security officers in Gaza City - Yasser Zaqout and Yasser Abu al-Aish. "Hamas wants the calm to continue," said Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas in the Strip. "We also want to see all the weapons removed from the streets because this is in the interest of the Palestinian people. The security chaos and assassinations only serve the interests of Israel." Barhoum also said Hamas was ready to resume talks with Abbas over the formation of a Palestinian unity government. The cease-fire was declared with the intervention of a number of Islamic countries, Haniyeh told reporters in Gaza City. He said he received several phone calls late Monday night from Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mussa; the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani; Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora; and Egyptian security officials based in the Gaza Strip urging him to end the Hamas-Fatah clashes. He also called on Abbas to withdraw his Force 17 "Presidential Guard" from the streets of the West Bank and Gaza City.