Fatah accuses Hamas of detaining 500 members in Gaza
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Fatah accuses Hamas of detaining 500 members in Gaza

Activists apparently arrested as terror group seeks to quell celebrations marking founding of rival party that controls Palestinian Authority

Masked gunmen from the Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades, a military wing of the Hamas terror group, march with their weapons during a large-scale drill across the Gaza Strip, March 25, 2018. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)
Masked gunmen from the Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades, a military wing of the Hamas terror group, march with their weapons during a large-scale drill across the Gaza Strip, March 25, 2018. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party said Monday that its Hamas rivals in Gaza had detained hundreds of Fatah members.

The arrests came as Fatah prepared to mark the 54th anniversary of its founding.

Fatah said Hamas had banned pro-Abbas loyalists from organizing events to mark the occasion and rounded up 500 activists.

The Hamas-run interior ministry in Gaza denied the accusations, saying it only summoned 38 local Fatah leaders “to maintain order.”

Hamas also is allowing supporters of Abbas’s rival in Fatah, Mohammed Dahlan, to light torches and stage marches.

Fatah and Hamas have been bitter rivals since the terror organization toppled Abbas’s forces and seized control of Gaza in 2007.

Over the past several years, the two parties have agreed to a number of reconciliation deals, but have failed to implement them.

Abbas has made repeated efforts to pressure Hamas economically into ceding control of the Strip, but these have so far been unsuccessful.

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