Did Mahmoud Abbas Just Foil a Hamas Coup?

by Avner Zarmi
March 12, 2015

Over the past several days, Israeli sources report that some 500 members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad — residents of the West Bank, which is under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA) — have been arrested by PA security services. An anonymous Hamas source acknowledged about 60 such detainees, including students and academics, to Agence France Presse. The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency quotes an anonymous PA security official as acknowledging 40 detainees, without further details. Ma’an alleged (without citing a source) that the arrests were possibly in response to the detention of Fatah official Mamun Suweidan by Hamas security forces in Gaza. PA security spokesman Adnan Dameiri claimed no political motivation for the arrests, and said simply that the detainees had broken the law. Yet Israeli sources have claimed that this massive wave of arrests — which began on Sunday — was conducted on Mahmoud Abbas’ orders, and assert that a coup against Abbas orchestrated by Hamas and Islamic Jihad has been foiled. READ MORE

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