The Palestinian Authority has recently arrested a Hamas cell that admitted to planning to assassinate senior Palestinian officials by July 7, the date set by Egypt for the signing of an agreement between Fatah and the Islamist group, the head of the Palestinian Presidency said on Monday.
According to Tayeb Abdul-Rahim, the order to attack Palestinian officials and institutions in the northern West Bank was given by Hamas' leadership abroad and by its armed wing in Gaza, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
He said the uncovering of the Hamas cell proves that the Islamist group is looking to undermine the reconciliation talks with Fatah. "The PA is certain that Hamas is not prepared to reach an agreement in Cairo. We will not let them carry out their secret plans," said Abdul-Rahim in reference to Hamas' leadership abroad.
"If necessary, we will reveal these files so the Palestinian public will know that Hamas' leadership is not interested in unity, but is rather interested in perpetuating the internal rift, which serves the (Israeli) occupation," he said.
The secretary-general of the Palestinian Presidency said that no more than five Hamas operatives had been detained in connection with the assassination plot, adding that a number of Arab countries have been informed of the developments.
Senior Hamas figure Sami Abu Zuhri said in response that the PA's allegations were "ridiculous and false."
"The timing of these allegations is not coincidental and is aimed at justifying the position of Fatah, which does not want to close the case of the political detainees," he said.
Abu Zuhri said that among the Hamas men arrested are city council members, professors and imams.