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PA detains 5 Palestinians, including 3 Birzeit University students, Hamas says

April 4, 2017 5:54 P.M. (Updated: April 6, 2017 11:31 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian security forces detained five people in the occupied West Bank overnight Monday, including three Birzeit University students, according a statement from the Hamas movement, which accused the Palestinian Authority of carrying out “politically motivated” arrests.

Each of the three students were members of the Hamas-affiliated student bloc at Birzeit University, identified in the report as Yahya Rabiaa, the representative of the Islamic bloc’s preparatory committee for elections; Waad Fuqahaa; and Yazid Kamal. Kamal was released hours later.

In response to the detentions, the Islamic bloc at the Birzeit scheduled a press conference Tuesday, to speak out on the “escalation of political arrests by security forces against students and activists,” the Hamas movement reported.

Separately, Fadi Abd al-Dayim was also detained by PA forces in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah overnight Monday. The Hamas statement quoted members of his family as saying that al-Dayim was released from PA prison only days prior, and was “assaulted and tortured” during his detention.

Al-Dayim has been previously arrested by the PA “several times,” the Hamas statement said, claiming the PA has targeted of al-Dayim for political reasons.

In Hebron, PA preventive security forces arrested former prisoner Islam Yunis Kawazba, from the town of Sair, which came two months after he was released from Israeli prison, according to Hamas. Kawazba is the brother of 18-year-old Ahmad Yunis Kawazba, who was shot dead by Israeli forces in January 2016.

In the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya, PA security forces arrested Amjad Hantash, a former political prisoner, the Hamas statement said.

The report added that PA Intelligence services extended the arrest of Amin Khalil al-Sous, from the Hebron-area town of Dura, for 15 more days. He has been held inside the PA's Jericho jail for 20 days.

PA authorities also continued to hold former prisoners Ared Ibrahim Salim, 37, and Muhammad al-Aqra, at the Jericho jail, according to the report. Salim has been held by PA security services for more than a month and has previously spent more than eight years in Israeli custody, while al-Aqra has been held for 16 days in the jail.

Hamas, the de facto ruling party in the Gaza Strip, and the PA have exchanged accusations of carrying out “politically motivated” arrests, as the two factions have been embroiled in conflict since Hamas' election victory in 2006 elections, which erupted into a violent conflict between the two movements as both attempted to consolidate control over the territory.

Hamas has accused the PA of executing a plan to "eradicate" the movement from the West Bank, accusing Fatah of “escalating security collaboration” with the Israeli authorities through politically-motivated arrests and “adopting a revolving door policy" funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons.

The PA has been the target of growing criticism as detention raids by Palestinian police have sparked violent clashes, in recent weeks. The killing of prominent Palestinian activist Basel al-Araj at the hands of Israeli forces, months after he was released from Palestinian custody, has also inspired anti-PA protests, which were violently suppressed by Palestinian police.
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