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Tuesday, July 12, 2011     GET REAL

Palestinians cracks down on Islamic opposition

RAMALLAH — The Palestinian Authority has resumed its crackdown on the Islamic opposition in the West Bank.


PA security forces have been arresting members of the Hizb Tahrir movement, regarded as close to Al Qaida. Hizb said at least 22 members were detained after the group criticized the PA.

"The PA has detained and harshly beaten our members," Hizb said.

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In a statement on July 8, Hizb, believed to contain tens of thousands of supporters in the West Bank, said the PA crackdown took place in Hebron and Tulkarm. The statement said the PA was stopping Hizb from conducting what it termed peaceful activities.

On July 2, Hizb, not known to have formal ties to Al Qaida, held a commemoration throughout the West Bank. Palestinian security forces were said to have used live fire, tear gas and truncheons to disperse Hizb demonstrations in such cities as Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah and Tulkarm. About 200 Hizb activists were said to have been arrested.

The PA has denied using live fire against Hizb. PA police spokesman Brig. Gen. Adnan Dumeiri said the Hizb demonstrations were deemed to have violated PA law.

"Under the pretext of their right to expression, they caused chaos and broke the law in several cities," Dumeiri said.

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