Hamas frees 20 Fatah activists in Gaza

Other News Materials 28 June 2009 16:58 (UTC +04:00)

The Palestinian Islamic Hamas movement on Sunday freed 20 prisoners loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party in the Gaza Strip, Hamas' interior ministry said, Xinhua reported.

The release of the detainees has been made as Hamas and its rival Fatah are scheduled to resume reconciliation talks later Sunday in Cairo.

Hamas denies it holds Fatah activists for political reasons and the ministry said that the 20 have been freed after initial interrogation found them not guilty.

Abdullah Abu Samhadana, a Fatah official in Gaza, said his movement was not officially informed by Hamas about the interior ministry's decision.

The mutual arrests between Hamas and Fatah have put an Egyptian- sponsored factional dialogue at threat and weakened chances of restoring political unity to the Hamas-controlled Gaza and the Fatah-ruled West Bank.

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said that resolving all outstanding issues between Hamas and Fatah is subject to halting West Bank arrests and freeing all Hamas members there.