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Hamas said to nab suspect in Fatah bombings

Arrest comes after cancellation of Arafat memorial in Gaza, amid accusations that Islamist group planted bombs targeting rival leaders

Fayez Abu Eitta, a Fatah leader in Gaza, speaks on the phone as he inspects the damage to his car in the parking lot of his home in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip on November 7, 2014. (Photo Credit: AFP/Mohammed Abed)
Fayez Abu Eitta, a Fatah leader in Gaza, speaks on the phone as he inspects the damage to his car in the parking lot of his home in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip on November 7, 2014. (Photo Credit: AFP/Mohammed Abed)

Hamas detained a suspect thought to be behind the wave of bombings against Fatah leaders’ homes in the Gaza Strip last Friday, Israel Radio reported Sunday, quoting Palestinian media.

At least 10 explosions hit houses and cars belonging to senior Fatah members but no casualties were reported.

Following the string of attacks, a commemoration rally in Gaza for the late PLO and Fatah party leader Yasser Arafat was canceled. The event scheduled for Tuesday was nixed Sunday, two days after the homes and cars of Fatah leaders, as well as the stage where the ceremony was to take place, were blown up.

Hamas has denied responsibility for the attacks, but Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement said it held the Islamist group accountable.

“The Fatah central committee condemns the crimes which took place this morning against its leaders and lays the responsiblity for these crimes upon Hamas,” senior Fatah official Nasser al-Qidwa told a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday.

Hussein al-Sheikh, another member of the Fatah leadership, said he had “no doubt of the fact that Hamas bears the responsibility for what happened to Fatah leaders in Gaza.”

A crowd of hundreds of thousands was expected to attend the rally, which was being held on the tenth anniversary of Arafat’s death, Reuters reported.

“After the series of explosions and assaults against Fatah leaders, we have been notified by Hamas’ political and security officials that security services won’t be able to take charge of security arrangements during the Arafat anniversary ceremony,” a senior Fatah leader in the Gaza Strip told the Palestinian Maan news agency.

It would have been the first time that a public commemoration of Arafat’s death would be held in Gaza since it was taken over by Hamas in 2007.

In June, Hamas and Fatah formed a unity government under Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

AFP contributed to this report.

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