Ali Waked
September 19, 2010 - 12:00am,7340,L-3956187,00.html

Ynet also learned Sunday that the Palestinian Authority carried out many preemptive arrests over the weekend after Hamas threatened to avenge the assassination of Iyad abu Shilbayeh by Israel. Among the detainees were members of Islamic Jihad.

The PA held several meetings following the murder in order to prepare for Hamas' supposed retaliation, for fear that such a move would be especially desirable for the Islamist group due to the direct talks between the Palestinians and Israel.

On Thursday night, an IDF force operating east of the West Bank city of Tulkarem killed Iyad abu Shilbayeh, formerly a senior Hamas operative. Hamas blamed the PA of being involved in the incident and noted that Shilbayeh had been arrested by Palestinian forces in the past.

Meanwhile the London-based al-Hayat reported that Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal met with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman in Mecca earlier this month. According to the report, the two discussed developments in the region and progress in the direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. They further discussed reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas.

Egyptian security forces have also reported apprehending a Hamas senior official at the Cairo airport. Egyptian state officials said the detainee was Hamas security chief in Gaza Mohammad Dababesh.

It is estimated that his arrest follows the exposure of a large shipment of communications devices which were allegedly meant to be smuggled into Rafah in the Gaza Strip from the Sinai Peninsula. Hamas sources said that tensions are mounting again between the Islamist group and Cairo authorities following the arrest.

Last week, Egyptian elements reported that 12 gold traders were arrested in Cairo on suspicion they aided Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh's body guard to smuggle large quantities of gold into Gaza through the Rafah tunnels.

Egyptian newspaper Al Masry Al Youm reported that Mohammed Naim, who owned one of the smuggling tunnels, was among the detainees. He is suspected of not only being involved in smuggling from Egypt to the Gaza Strip but also of transporting terror suspects.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017