Hamas men arrested with €1m

2009-06-09 21:05

Nablus - Police have arrested six Hamas members in the West Bank suspected of planning acts against the Palestinian Authority and seized more than €1m from them, a senior official said on Tuesday.

The arrests, including those of at least two women, were carried out from Monday in the Nablus region in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Mayor Jamal Muheissen told AFP.

"We have seized €1m and 21 000 Jordanian dinars (€21 250) from two of the people arrested," he said.

Hamas confirmed that six of its members had been arrested and accused the Palestinian Authority of "collusion" with Israel "to wipe out Hamas".

Tensions between Islamist Hamas and the secular Fatah of President Mahmud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority have risen over the past several weeks after two deadly arrest operations of Hamas members in the West Bank.

Muheissen said that amid the documents seized from the detainees were records of transfers of about 38 000 dinars (€38 477) from abroad for arms purchases.


He accused the Islamists of "planning to spread anarchy in the West Bank and to overthrow the Palestinian Authority like they did in Gaza".

The bitter divide between the two groups reached a critical juncture in June 2007 when Hamas gunmen drove Abbas's forces from the Gaza Strip in a week of deadly street battles that cleaved Palestinians into hostile rival entities.

Since then each movement has accused its rival of political arrests and persecution in the territories under its control.

The two sides have held several rounds of negotiations in Cairo this year aimed at resolving their differences and forming a national unity government, but without visible progress.

A Hamas delegation arrived in Egypt on Monday for the latest round of the talks.