A group of Fatah gunmen from the Balata refugee in Nablus camp have announced the establishment of "the army of free fighters" on Wednesday.
The group members celebrated the occasion by holding a march at the camp during which they fired in the air.
- Rockets, rifles and axes in Fatah rally
- Egypt: Palestinian rivals agree to enact unity deal
- Gaza marks Fatah's 48th anniversary
Palestinian security forces have been engaged in a large-scale mission to confiscate illegal weapons in the Jenin and Balata refugee camps in recent months.
The raids often involved fire exchanges with the gunmen, some of whom are former members of Fatah's military wing the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
The operation was launched following an attack on Jenin Governor Kadura Musa's house. Musa was not hurt in the incident but died of a heart attack that same night.
Gunmen in Balata refugee camp
Among the suspects arrested during the raids was Zakaria Zubedi, the Jenin chief of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
The gunmen now appear to be reasserting their authority in the West Bank. At a press conference the group said, "We call on President Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) to form a commission of inquiry to investigate the security forces' operation that targeted hundreds of Fatah men in the West Bank."
Firing in the air
They claimed that the arrests had humiliated them and left them with the choice of either living with dignity or dying with dignity.
The group stressed that they support Abbas as the Palestinian people's only president and will turn their weapons only against the enemies of the president and Fatah.
You can contact Elior Levy, Ynet's Palestinian Affairs Correspondent, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop