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Islamic Jihad: Palestinian Security Arrests 5 of Its Members in Jenin

People protest against arrests made by Palestinian Authority in Jenin, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, July 17, 2023.
People protest against arrests made by Palestinian Authority in Jenin, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, July 17, 2023.

Islamic Jihad militants said Palestinian security forces detained five more of their members in Jenin overnight, underlining rifts between groups in the West Bank two weeks since Israel launched its largest raid there in years.

Israel — which says its raid targeted militants — has pressed the Palestinian Authority to take tougher action against Iran-backed Islamic Jihad and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and has fighters in the West Bank.

There was no immediate comment from Israel on the reported arrests, or from the security forces of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which exercises limited governance in parts of the West Bank.

The city of Jenin and the huge adjoining refugee camp have been at the heart of an escalation of violence across the West Bank that has triggered mounting alarm from Washington to the Arab world.

Militant groups have accused the Palestinian Authority of weakness and failing to do enough to stand up to Israel.

Angry crowds confronted senior PA officials after Israel's two-day raid, and in one standoff forced Authority members to leave a funeral for 10 people killed in the incursion.

Islamic Jihad spokesperson Daoud Shehab said Monday the arrests overnight took the total number of its members arrested by the Palestinian Authority since the raid to 10.

He added that his group was trying to secure their release by talking to "rational" people in Fatah, the movement led by President Mahmoud Abbas which dominates the Palestinian Authority.

The Authority protested the Israeli operation, which it called a war crime, but was unable to do anything to halt it.

PA officials say Israel regularly undermines their authority, making it impossible for them to exert authority or create the basis for a future Palestinian state in the West Bank, which Israel seized after the 1967 Middle East war.

Days after the raid, Abbas visited the camp and said workers would start repairing damaged homes and infrastructure.

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