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Volatile. Gaza gunman (Archives) Photo: AP
Volatile. Gaza gunman (Archives) Photo: AP
 
 

Hamas-Fatah tensions rising

Looming end of Palestinian president's tenure has Israeli defense establishment on high alert, as tensions between rival Palestinian factions in West Bank make for volatile situation. Israel concerned Hamas may try to assassinate senior Fatah officials

Alex Fishman
Published: 10.15.08, 11:00 / Israel News

The nearing end of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' tenure has the defense establishment on edge, as it has formed a joined team with the Shin Bet and the Foreign Ministry to prepare for January 9 – Abbas' last day as Palestinian Authority president.

 

The main concern is intelligence indicating that Hamas' military wing may begin targeting senior Fatah and Palestinian security officials via abductions and assassination attempts.

 

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The general consensus within the Israeli defense establishment is that if the Palestinian Authority and Hamas fail to reach an understanding about postponing the presidential elections – thus extending Abbas' tenure – Hamas may try to inflame the area by targeting PA officials.

 

Fatah members are said to be extremely vigilant already, following the Palestinian security forces' intense activity against Hamas infrastructure in the West Bank.

 

Hamas is said to be concerned about a joint PA-Israel operation, which resulted in the shutting down of over 100 Hamas-affiliated institutions, which funnel money to the organizations.

 

Palestinian Authority security forces have also been able to uncover two underground Hamas warehouses and explosives labs, as well as nab 50 of the group's militants and shut down a Hamas training facility, arresting 10 terrorists in the process.

 

But the PA is not targeting Hamas alone: Palestinian security forces have been cracking down on all West Bank militant groups, and their efforts have resulted in arresting Fatah military operatives in Jenin and Nablus and arresting a female suicide bomber, who was supposed to target the Hawara checkpoint.

 

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