Mahmoud Al-Zahar
Photo: AP
Ismail Haniyeh
Photo: AP
Al-Zahar: PA will pay in West Bank like in Gaza
Hamas leader quoted in London-based paper threatening Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority following extensive operations Abbas' security forces have conducted against Hamas in the West Bank

With Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' term in office nearing an end, tensions are rising throughout the West Bank.


Security officials within the Palestinian Authority warn Hamas is gearing towards a coup in the West Bank to complete what the Islamic group started in the Gaza Strip.


"Everything is possible, so we are being very cautious," a senior officer was quoted as saying by the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.


According to the paper, PA forces are operating on an elevated state of alertness throughout the West Bank. This includes thorough ID verification, examining private vehicles and actively pursuing wanted Hamas operatives.


Hamas, meanwhile, has pledged it will fight back. "It is clear that these security operations are intended to oppress Hamas, but they will only bring about the opposite," vowed prominent Hamas leader and former Palestinian foreign affairs minister, Mahmoud Al-Zahar.


Hope for unity in Cairo?

Fatah and Hamas marked the end of Ramadan on Tuesday with pledges to seek unity at talks in Cairo in the coming weeks.


But there was no evident sign of a change of position on either part signaling that their feud, which climaxed with Islamist Hamas fighters forcing Fatah forces out of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, would soon be resolved.


"We hope the current national dialogue sessions in Cairo will succeed in ending the division caused by a party that rejected the choice of the people," said Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh, referring to Fatah.


Haniyeh went on to accuse Fatah of "cooperating with the Israeli occupation against its people."


In response Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said "Abbas and the Palestinian leadership are exerting great efforts for the success of the dialogue that Egypt is holding. A deal in Cairo would pave the way to "comprehensive national dialogue that will be followed by a meeting of Arab foreign ministers", he added.


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