PA says it discovered secret Hamas jail by Nablus

Hamas denies claim, accuses PA of fabrications; PA says it seized communications devices, arrested Palestinians.

Palestinian Authority police 311 (R) (photo credit: Mohamad Torokman / Reuters)
Palestinian Authority police 311 (R)
(photo credit: Mohamad Torokman / Reuters)
Palestinian Authority security forces announced on Sunday that they have discovered a secret Hamas prison near Nablus.
Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the security forces, said the underground jail was discovered in Urif, south of Nablus. The PA forces seized communications devices and other equipment and arrested a number of Palestinians, Damiri said.
Hamas immediately denied the claim and accused the PA of fabrications and lies.
According to the spokesman, the secret prison, which consists of a cell with two beds, is located in a building that includes an apartment and a restaurant.
The announcement came after PA forces arrested about 100 Hamas supporters in the West Bank over the past week, many of them recently released from Israeli prison.
Last week, PA officials in Ramallah claimed that Hamas was trying to stage a coup in the West Bank.
The officials said that Hamas was taking advantage of protests against the high cost of living to plunge the West Bank back into anarchy.
The charges against Hamas came after protesters in some West Bank cities began chanting slogans against the PA leadership and the Oslo Accords.
Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf said that the secret Hamas prison was in violation of the law.
“This is a crime that is tantamount to treason because it harms the interests and security of the Palestinians,” Assaf said.
He claimed Hamas was trying to establish its own underground entities in the West Bank as part of efforts to overthrow the PA.
The Fatah spokesman also said that Hamas had tried to exploit the recent social protests in the West Bank to “spread anarchy and lawlessness.”
Hamas leaders and spokesmen dismissed the claims as “trivial” and “lies.”
Salah Bardaweel, a top Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, said the claim about a secret prison was aimed at justifying the PA’s ongoing security crackdown on the movement’s supporters in the West Bank.
“The Palestinian Authority is trying to white-wash the crime it has committed by kidnapping and torturing Palestinians,” Bardaweel said.
Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri accused the PA of fabrications to divert attention from growing discontent with the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank. He said that the PA clampdown on Hamas supporters was the result of security coordination between PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s security forces and Israel.