Fatah: Hamas arrests 45 Fatah followers in Gaza
Hamas has arrested 45 members of Fatah movement in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said, Xinhua reported.
In a statement sent to the media, Fatah said that Abdel Rahman Hammad, a former minister and a member of Fatah Revolutionary Council, was one of the 45 detainees who were summoned today to a Hamas police post.
Most of the arrests took place in southern Gaza Strip towns of Rafah and Khan Younis.
Fatah said the arrests were "provocative," adding that they come as a part of Hamas' attempts to prevent Fatah members from traveling to the West Bank to attend their movement's general conference.
Hamas security spokesman were not available for comment.
Around 400 Fatah partisans in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip are awaiting a Hamas permission to travel to the holy city of Bethlehem where Fatah's first congress in 30 years is scheduled to convene on August 4.
Hamas, which routed pro-Abbas forces and ousted Fatah in June 2007, said Fatah members can not travel before the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) frees jailed Hamas supporters in the West Bank and sends blank passport books to Gaza to enable Hamas administration issuing new passports for Gazans.
Hamas has installed checkpoints along the road that leads to Erez crossing point in northern Gaza Strip and its security officers have been checking ID cards of passengers to make sure no Fatah members can reach the Israeli-controlled crossing which goes to the West Bank.