RAMALLAH Ñ Palestinian Authority sources said 17 Fatah insurgents wanted by Israel were arrested and
ordered to leave for Jericho. They said the fugitives were members of the Al
Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and had obtained haven in the compound of PA Chairman
Arafat, the sources said, approved the arrests, carried out by his
praetorian guard, Force 17. They said the arrests comprised the Israeli
condition to allow freedom of movement for Arafat.
So far, five of the 17 agreed to be transferred to Jericho. The others
On Saturday, the Fatah-dominated Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades threatened to
end a truce in the war against Israel, Middle East Newsline reported. Al Aqsa said the PA decision to
arrest Palestinians wanted by Israel was a violation of the ceasefire.
"Some 20 activists of Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades wanted by Israel have
been detained in Ramallah and are expected to be transferred to Jericho to
find a solution to their problem," PA minister without portfolio Abdul Fatah
Al Amayel said. "Those activists are subject to Israeli threats and we felt
it incumbent upon us to provide a safe haven for them."
The standoff has prompted a hunger strike by other fugitives in Arafat's
compound. Several dozen fugitives remain in Arafat's headquarters in
"We have ordered the resumption everywhere of our attacks and in
particular suicide operations," Al Aqsa said in a statement.
PA sources said the arrest of insurgents and their proposed detention in
was regarded as a temporary arrangement. They said PA Prime Minister
Mahmoud Abbas was under pressure from Israel and the United States to
demonstrate movement against Palestinian insurgency groups.
In the Gaza Strip, two explosions were reported on Saturday. At least
two Palestinians were injured in an explosion of a weapons arsenal in Khan
In another incident, a 14-year-old was injured when a suspicious object
exploded in Dir El Balah. Palestinian sources said the object came from
another Palestinian arsenal.