The Palestinian Authority (PA) arrested 108 Hamas members, including senior Hamas officials, for allegedly planning attacks in the Israeli-occupied West Bank in overnight raids.
The raids began early Thursday morning and continued overnight from Thursday to Friday, Hamas-affiliated media sources reported.
The raids were carried out two days after Israel announced on Wednesday that it had arrested 40 Hamas members over the past few months in the Nablus area in the occupied West Bank allegedly for plotting attacks. The people arrested included senior Hamas members and former prisoners held by Israel.
It is the largest crackdown by Palestinian Authority against Hamas since 2007.
According to Walla News, the raids were carried out in Nablus, Bethlehem and Hebron.
Adnan al Dmairi, spokesperson for the PA security services, claimed that Hamas had planned ‘’to sow chaos’’ but didn’t give further details.
"We are arresting them for interrogation or to put them on trial based on evidence they are threatening Palestinian internal security stability and are trying to drag the region and drag us into military confrontation and destroy the area," Dmairi said.
“We will not let Hamas undermine our security and draw our country to bloodshed, we will not let Hamas carry out attacks in the West Bank.”
However, Hamas said the raids were coordinated with Israel and politically motivated.
"Actions by these collaborator services will not break the movement and will not weaken resistance. We call for the immediate release of prisoners and we warn of the consequences of these unpatriotic measures," said Hamas spokesman Abu Zuhri.
Hamas spokesperson Husam Badran claimed that PA security forces are working for Israel and accused PA President Mahmoud Abbas of being responsible for the “persecution and terror” carried out by his forces.
“It is our right to use all means to stop the crimes against our senior members in the West Bank,” he was quoted as saying.
The Palestinian unity government, which was established by Gaza-based Hamas and Ramallah-based Fatah in June 2014 following an agreement carried out to end the division between the two political forces of Palestine in April 2014, was dissolved on June 17 this year.
The move came just after Mahmoud Abbas said the unity government was unable to operate in the Gaza Strip.
Earlier in June, Ismail Haniya, deputy head of Hamas’ political office, said there had been no humanitarian or economic progress, referring to the reconstruction of the war-torn Gaza after the 51-day ‘’Operation Protective Edge’’ and other issues, in the Gaza Strip since the unity government was formed a year ago. This inability was a major point of internal dispute between Fatah and Hamas.
In July and August 2014, Israel launched the 51-day “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza Strip and killed more than 2,100 people, mostly women and children and injured another 11,000. On the Israeli side, 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed.
More than 20,000 homes were destroyed and hundreds of thousands are still displaced.