London, Asharq Al-Awsat – Fatah spokesman Fahmi Zaarir revealed that Hamas detainees have confessed to monitoring the movements of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and gathering information on his security detail.
Zaarir informed Asharq Al-Awsat that a group of arrested Hamas cadres confessed to monitoring senior official’s convoys, including that of President Mahmoud Abbas. Zaarir refused to go into detail, but stressed that this issue is related to the security apparatus.
According to sources, upon their arrest, the Hamas members were in possession of weapons, maps, and photographs of senior officials. The presence of photographs and maps indicated that members of the group were spying on President Mahmoud Abbas himself. Zaarir’s statements confirmed a report published by the Israeli Haaretz newspaper last Friday. The article cited an unnamed Palestinian security source who revealed that the arrested Hamas members were monitoring the movements of the Palestinian president, and that the motivation behind this was to assassinate him.
A Hamas spokesman described these accusations as “desperate.” Mushir al Masri, the Secretary-General of the Hamas parliamentary bloc told Asharq Al-Awsat that “this is a desperate attempt to justify the massacre committed by the government against Hamas in the West Bank in order to pave the way for the implementation of the Road Map [for Peace] and security coordination [with Israel].”
“This is a transparent policy by the government in Ramallah that our Palestinian people have become used to. It is an attempt to cover up the killings and arrests practiced against members of Hamas and the resistance in the West Bank.”
Al Masri added, “They have accustomed us to talk of uncovering a cell here or there, but until now we have not heard of any [government] official being exposed to an attack or an attempted assassination.”
A spokesman for the Hamas military wing, the Ezzedeen Al Qassem Brigade, also denied these charges.
On his part, Zaarir stated that one of Hamas’ intentions was to hinder [inter-Palestinian] reconciliation talks in Cairo, as well as to create confusion and instability in the West Bank. According to Zaarir, the group in question was arrested ten days ago in various West Bank provinces, particularly Ramallah and Hebron where Hamas enjoys considerable popular support.
The Secretary General of the Palestinian Presidency [Tayeb Abdul Rahim] recently announced that security apparatus had arrested a group of Hamas members that was planning to attack government institutions. According to Abdul Rahim, the detainees confessed that they were planning to assassinate a number of senior government officials. The group of detainees to which Zaarir referred is different to the group that comprised of no less than 15 Hamas leaders and cadres who were arrested in various cities in the West Bank last Friday.
The Preventive Security Service in Nablus refused to implement the Palestinian Supreme Court’s decision to release Omar Abdul Wahab Hamd, 38, who was arrested by the security apparatus ten months ago.
Hamas also accused Salam Fayyad’s government of firing a proud teacher due to his political affiliation. Hamas said that Fayyad’s government, which it describes as illegitimate, dismissed teacher Mahmoud Ghanam al Naeiri from Jaba village in the Jenin district.