GAZA CITY Ñ Islamic insurgency groups said the Palestinian Authority
has geared up for a crackdown on illegal weapons in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad said they will resist any PA effort to seize
their weapons. They said such a move would end the truce declared with
"The Palestinian security forces decided to start a campaign aimed to
disarm the resistance," a joint statement said on Sunday. "We warn that such
an act will make us think seriously of going back on our initiative to halt
the military attacks."
PA officials, however, have denied any crackdown on illegal weapons, Middle East Newsline reported. PA
Preventive Security Apparatus chief Rashid Abu Shback said the PA does not
intend to endanger the truce accord.
Islamic sources said the PA has recruited more than 600 security
officers and police for a search mission of weapons in the Gaza Strip. They
said the effort is being headed by PA Security Affairs Minister Mohammed
Hamas leader Abdul Aziz Rentisi said the Palestinian truce was based on
pledge by the PA not to collect weapons. He said any such PA operation would
constitute "a threat to the truce and national unity."
On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the Cabinet that
Palestinian insurgency groups have used the ceasefire to rebuild their
infrastructures. Mofaz said Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the ruling Fatah
movements have accelerated their production of mortars, rocket-propelled
grenades and anti-tank weapons.