Ma'an News Agency
January 3, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority security forces detained 3,000 Hamas affiliates in the West Bank in 2010, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Sunday.

At a press conference in Gaza City, Barhoum said 1,404 of those detained by PA forces had served time in Israeli jails, 49 were prominent Hamas leaders, 49 Imams of mosques, 405 university students and 24 professors. Those imprisoned also included 36 journalists, 12 businessmen, five pharmacists, seven women and 12 school children, he added.

The Hamas official held the PA "fully responsible" for the lives and safety of its detained affiliates, and said the Fatah-led government ignored urgent calls to end political arrests.

Barhoum specifically condemned the detention of Ayoub Al-Qawasmi, and demanded the PA revealed his whereabouts.

PA security forces detained Al-Qawasmi from the West Bank city of Hebron overnight on Thursday. Al-Qawasmi had been on the PA's "most wanted" list since 1998, according to a source in the PA who requested anonymity.

Hamas and Fatah split in 2007, when the Islamist movement took control of the Gaza Strip after bloody confrontations.

Two rounds of talks in Damascus in September and November failed to achieve reconciliation between the parties.

Both factions repeatedly accuse each other of political detentions, and say the arrests wreck unity efforts.


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