Hamas launches crackdown against Fatah following Gaza blasts

By Xinhua,

Gaza : Hamas forces launched a crackdown on supporters and charities linked to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement in Gaza Strip early Saturday following a mysterious blast that killed a number of Hamas people.

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Among the detainees was a colonel working in the pro-Abbas intelligence service and a cameraman works for the German ARD television.

After sunset Friday, a heavy bomb, planted under a car of a Hamas member, went off, killing a girl and five members of Hamas’ armed wing who were picnicking at the beach in the west of Gaza city. The car was parked just behind the tent where a group of Hamas people were staying. Tens of others were injured.

Hamas accuses Fatah of staying behind a series of explosions that took place in the Hamas-controlled Gaza over the past 24 hours, but Fatah says the blasts were a result of internal disputes among Hamas which took over Gaza Strip by force last year.

Fatah said that Hamas police forces and the so-called internal security service arrested tens of the movement’s supporters and members in Gaza city and closed a number of charities after confiscating their documents and computers.

Ihab Nasser, director of the North Society for Social Development, said he was surprised with the news that the police forces of the deposed government broke into the offices.

“It is a non-profit society and has nothing to do with the political situation,” Nasser said, adding that his society nowadays holds a UN-sponsored summer camp for children.

At dawn, members of the internal security service of Hamas broke into the house of Sawah Abu Saif, the ARD cameraman, seized his laptop and cellular phone and took the journalist with them, his family said.

The crackdown comes after the interior ministry of Hamas government said it opened an investigation into the explosion.

The police forces were also put on alert and their spokesman, Islam Shahwan, said the perpetrators would be arrested “within hours.”

Hamas ousted Fatah movement from Gaza in June 2007 after routing pro-Abbas forces. The Palestinian president fired a Hamas-led coalition and appointed a western-backed administration ruling from West Bank.

Hamas often accuses Fatah of trying to make troubles in the Gaza Strip.