PNA forces arrest Islamic Jihad members in West Bank

RAMALLAH, Nov. 1 – Palestinian National Authority (PNA) forces launched a limited crackdown against Islamic Jihad supporters in northern West Bank, arresting its four activists, sources from the movement said. It was the first move against the Islamic Jihad members in months as most of the crackdowns in the West Bank targeted members and supporters of the Islamic Hamas movement.

The sources said the security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas opened fire at a group of Islamic Jihad supporters who were hanging posters in Tulkarem city.

Most of the group fled except three, the sources said, adding that a fourth Islamic Jihad member was arrested on Thursday near Jenin city.

“The detainees were taken to the general intelligence headquarters in Tulkarem and were later moved to an unknown place,” the sources said.

Unlike Hamas, the Islamic Jihad does not have rivalry with Abbas’ Fatah movement. After Hamas beat Fatah in June 2007, the two movements cracked down against each other.

Meanwhile, Hamas called on Egypt to pressurize Abbas to stop crackdowns against Hamas in the West Bank. Egypt will host a dialogue in November to end the Hamas-Fatah tension.

“Egypt’s withholding for pressuring Abbas to stop the politically-motivated arrests in the West Bank doesn’t serve the dialogue at all,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoom said.

Hamas said some 200 of its supporters are held in PNA jails in the West Bank for their affiliation with the Islamic movement which routed pro-Abbas forces in the Gaza Strip last year.

On Thursday, Hamas released some 20 Fatah prisoners from jails in Gaza in a goodwill gesture towards the Egypt-mediated dialogue, saying they were all the political prisoners Hamas held. 

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