Fatah says Hamas arresting its men in Gaza
GAZA, June 6 (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's faction accused Hamas Islamists on Saturday of arresting some 150 Fatah activists in Gaza, in apparent retaliation for raids that killed four Hamas men in the West Bank this week.
Fahmi al-Zarir, a spokesman for Western-backed Fatah in the occupied West Bank, said Hamas had made the arrests since Friday. He said some men were being held in schools and hotels in the Gaza Strip, territory the Islamists seized in 2007 from Fatah.
Hamas officials declined any comment, but a statement posted on Hamas's Interior Ministry website said "some" Palestinians loyal to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, a Fatah-backed leader, were arrested as suspected informers for Israel.
The arrests came days after four Hamas men and a civilian died in deadly raids by Abbas's Western-backed security forces against Hamas Islamists in the West Bank town of Qalqilya.
These raids highlighted the tensions within Palestinian society over Abbas's efforts to fulfil commitments to rein in militants as part of a long-stalled, U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan.
Underlining the growing tension, Hamas had published a "hit list" for security leaders accused of cracking down on its members, and one of the group's preachers in Gaza called for an intifada, or uprising, in the West Bank against Abbas's men.
U.S. President Barack Obama urged Abbas last month to press on with his security campaign, which he credited with making "great progress" in the West Bank.
In an address in Cairo on Thursday, Obama urged Hamas to heal the Palestinian rift by putting "an end to violence" and recognising Israel's right to exist. Hamas calls for Israel's destruction.
Prominent Palestinians have issued a joint plea to "end the bloodletting" and engage in reconciliation talks which were expected to resume in Cairo next month. (Reporting by Saleh Salem in Gaza, Ali Sawafta and Mohammed Assadi in Ramallah; Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Editing by Matthew Jones) (allyn.fisher.reuters.com; +972-2-6322202; Reuters Messaging:email@example.com))
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