Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered his security forces to
release hundreds of Hamas members detained in a recent series of West
Mr. Abbas's announcement was made shortly after his
Fatah forces rounded up at least 15 Hamas members in the latest sweep
in the city of Nablus Thursday.
Hamas recently widened a
crackdown in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip against rival factions it
suspects of involvement in a deadly bombing last Friday. The militant
group blames Fatah for the blast, which killed five Hamas members and a
young girl. Fatah denies the charge.
Earlier, Hamas security
forces released a Palestinian cameraman five days after he was arrested
during the Gaza crackdown against suspected Fatah supporters.
The 42-year-old cameraman, Sawah Abu Seif, works for German television broadcaster ARD, which denies he is a Fatah activist.
media rights group Reporters Without Borders condemned the arrest. ARD
closed its bureau in the Gaza Strip Wednesday in protest.
rights groups say both Hamas and Fatah have carried out dozens of
politically motivated arrests in the past week, as tensions between the
rival Palestinian factions continue to rise.
Earlier this week,
Palestinian human rights group Al Haq and New York-based Human Rights
Watch accused both Hamas and Fatah of torturing political opponents.
The two Palestinian factions have been at odds since Hamas routed Fatah forces and seized control of Gaza last year.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.