NABLUS, Palestinian Territories (AFP) – The Fatah party of Western-backed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas accused its Islamist rival Hamas on Wednesday of plotting to kill one of its governors in the West Bank.
Hamas, which has effectively limited Abbas’s authority to the Israeli-occupied territory since it seized control of Gaza in 2007, denied it had made any attempt to assassinate Jibrin al-Bakri, governor of the northern city of Nablus.
“Hamas should take full responsibility for this assassination plot against the governor of Nablus,” Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf said.
Security sources in Abbas’s Palestinian Authority said a number of suspects from Hamas had been arrested after being implicated in the alleged plot and other suspected operations against the Israeli army or Palestinian Authority.
But Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri strongly denied the alleged plot.
“These are lies put out by the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah to cover up their criminal campaign against resistance fighters in the West Bank,” Masri told AFP in Gaza.
The long-time political rivals have been fiercely divided since Hamas seized power in Gaza in a bloody rout of Abbas’s forces in 2007.
A string of attempts to reconcile the groups have failed, with each side accusing the other of undermining trust by persecuting political rivals in the territory under its control.