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Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Friday, 1 August 2008 16:44 UK

Top Fatah officials held in Gaza

Hamas security officials in Gaza (26 July 2008)
Hamas men have detained scores of Fatah officials in the last week

A number of top representatives of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have been arrested in the Gaza Strip, officials from his Fatah movement say.

Fatah officials Ibrahim Abu Naja and Zakaria Agha were among those detained as part of a continuing Hamas crackdown following a coastal bombing last week.

Mr Abbas appointed the two men to run Fatah in Gaza when the Islamist Hamas seized control of the area in 2007.

Fatah says dozens of its men are being held, but Hamas has not given a number.

A Hamas spokesman said the latest arrests were in response to the detentions of Hamas men in the West Bank.

Beach-side bomb

Earlier the Palestinian president ordered the release of dozens of Hamas members rounded up by his security forces in the West Bank in the past week -- during the day, four men were set free.

Hamas and Fatah have to stop fighting for all of us
Falastin Sefady
Mother of bombing victim

Both sides arrested large numbers of each other's supporters in the aftermath of a bomb blast in Gaza a week ago, in which five Hamas members and a girl were killed.

The bomb exploded inside a car travelling past a beach where people were enjoying a day by the sea.

Hamas insists the arrests of Fatah members are part of its investigation into the bombing. Fatah denies any involvement in the attack.

The latest detentions show that the tit-for-tat, politically motivated campaigns are continuing, our correspondent says.



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