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http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1074452.html

            Last update - 17:07 28/03/2009     
     
     
      Hamas frees Fatah's Gaza officials hours after arrest  
     
      By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent, and Reuters  
     
      Tags: Israel News, Fatah, Gaza  
     

      Hamas Islamists in the Gaza Strip released at least eight leaders from 
the rival Fatah faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, hours after 
they were arrested for questioning, Fatah officials said on Saturday. 

      The Hamas-run Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip said the Fatah men were 
detained for questioning after holding an "illegal factional meeting". Fatah 
officials later confirmed that the three men had been released. 

      They said among those held was Abdel-Rahman Hamad, a former minister in 
the Palestinian Authority, who had been meeting fellow Fatah members in the 
city of Gaza. 

      A spokesman for Fatah said that Hamas had launched a new crackdown on its 
officials in the Gaza Strip. 

      Fahmi al-Zaarir said Hamas security forces had arrested the officials 
throughout the coastal territory in a bid to prevent Fatah from regrouping. 

      Hamas ousted Fatah from Gaza in a bloody coup in 2007. Since then, the 
Islamist group has periodically detained Fatah activists. 

      Last week, the rival Palestinian groups adjourned reconciliation talks in 
Egypt without a breakthrough on the shape or agenda of a national unity 
government. 

      The Israel Defense Forces, meanwhile, reported Thursday that during its 
in offensive in Gaza earlier this year, Hamas executed 14 members of Fatah. 

      Shortly after the conflict, Hamas accused Fatah of collaborating with 
Israel in the campaign by providing the Israel Air Force with intelligence on 
targets. 



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      a.. Fatah: No unity talks unless Hamas respects past accords with Israel 

      a.. Gazans fear Fatah-Hamas split could sabotage Gaza reconstruction 
     

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