Abbas Launches Broadest Weapons Crackdown (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Elad Benari 07/03/12)
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Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has launched his
broadest weapons crackdown in years, The Associated Press reported on
The latest crackdown marks the first time that Abbas is confronting
his own loyalists, including rogue security officers and gunmen
linked to his Fatah movement.
AP reported that the arrest raids conducted in recent weeks are a
response to high-profile vigilante shootings that threatened to
undermine law-and-order successes in Jenin.
Some 200 people were detained and dozens of guns seized in recent
weeks, many in Jenin, Palestinian Authority police told AP Monday.
Just under half the detainees were released after surrendering their
weapons, while others remain in custody on suspicion of weapons
dealing, extortion and shooting attacks, said police spokesman Adnan
The report noted that until the crackdown, Abbas largely avoided
taking on armed men with ties to Fatah, apparently fearing a
political backlash and unrest in the ranks. The recent shootings,
including a May attack on the house of the Jenin district governor,
who later died of a heart attack, seem to have left him no choice.
Among those arrested were several gangs involved in illegal weapons
trading and extortion, as well as those who attacked the house of the
Jenin governor. PA officials have linked the deadly heart attack to
the shooting, seen as the main trigger for the security crackdown.
Meanwhile, AP reported, local human rights groups have criticized
Abbas for curtailing basic freedoms under the guise of security.
The report noted that over the weekend, his security forces violently
dispersed two protests against Abbas´ security coordination with
Israel and a planned meeting with Israelís Deputy Prime Minister
Shaul Mofaz. The meeting was later postponed.
Officers and plainclothes agents scuffled with dozens of young
demonstrators, and kicked and beat several of them.
Senior Fatah officials did not criticize the crackdown publicly,
though local leaders in the Jenin district argued that disarming
Fatah loyalists will leave them vulnerable in case of renewed clashes
with the movement´s main political rival, Hamas.
A previous crackdown in Jenin was launched in early May, soon after
the death of the local governor.
One of those arrested in May was Zakaria Zubeidi, the former
commander of the Fatah movementís al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Jenin.
The reason for the arrest is unclear but may have been part of the
Zubeidi is considered one of the most powerful men in Jenin, and
recently there has been friction between him and the PA.
(IsraelNationalNews © 2012 07/03/12)
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