Mohammed Mar’i
Arab News
August 6, 2008 - 2:19pm§ion=0&article=112465&d=6&m=8&y=2008

RAMALLAH/GAZA CITY: A senior Hamas official in Gaza City warned yesterday that his Islamic group could overrun the West Bank, just as it took over Gaza, if provoked by its rivals in Fatah. The official, Sami Abu Zuhri, spoke as tensions between the two groups remained high following a bombing that killed five Hamas members in Gaza and a Hamas sweep that ended with 11 dead and dozens wounded, most of them from Fatah.

Abu Zuhri told reporters that Fatah should expect “an uprising” against them if they continued a crackdown against Hamas there. A West Bank Fatah official responded that Hamas was issuing empty threats. After Hamas expelled Fatah forces from Gaza in June 2007, President Mahmoud Abbas set up a government in the West Bank. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 but maintains a large military presence and overall security control in the West Bank. Abu Zuhri’s remarks reflected Hamas’ increasingly tough stance toward Fatah, after it routed the Fatah-linked Hilles clan in Gaza over the weekend.

Also yesterday, a senior Palestinian official said that Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will meet in Jerusalem today. Saeb Erekat, head of PLO’s Negotiations Department, told the Voice of Palestine radio that Abbas and Olmert will meet at the latter’s house in Jerusalem to discuss the results of the peace talks held between the two sides in Washington last week. The meeting between Olmert and Abbas will be the first since Olmert, who is accused of corruption, announced last week that he is not intended to run in the primary elections of his ruling Kadima party in September.


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