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The PA uncovers Hamas cell preparing to assassinate Governor of Nablus--Sources say 'Israel granted PA wider security powers in Nablus'; PA denies.

-- The PA Uncovers Hamas Cell Preparing to Assassinate Governor of Nablus

-- Sources Say 'Israel Granted PA Wider Security Powers in Nablus'; PA Denies

The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced on Wednesday that it had arrested a cell comprising members from the Islamist Hamas organization who were preparing a plan to assassinate the governor of Nablus in the northern West Bank, Jibril al-Bakri, the pan-Arab daily AL HAYAT reported Thursday. The daily quoted an unnamed source as saying that "the cell, which was active in Nablus, included three Hamas members who admitted that they were preparing a plan for assassination and they handed over their weapons which they were going to use" for killing the governor. Bakri told AL HAYAT that Hamas sought to target him in order to destabilize Nablus, known for its "economic and security achievements and stability". "Hamas wants to change the rules of the game. There are economic and security achievements in Nablus and that's why Hamas wants to start from here."

The unnamed source told AL HAYAT that through this assassination attempt "Hamas aimed to put pressure on the PA to stop cracking down its members." A number of Hamas members have been arrested in the West Bank, especially in Nablus which has been a main hub for the Islamist organization, the daily said. Hamas has denied having links to the cell. The pan-Arab daily ASHARQ AL AWSAT quoted Mahmoud al-Zahar, member in Hamas' political bureau, as saying "Internal assassinations are not part of Hamas' policies."

Israel and the PA

AL HAYAT quoted an unnamed official in Nablus as saying to the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency that "Israel has totally handed over the responsibility of the security situation in Nablus to the PA." The source added that Israel "has returned the borders of Nablus to the situation they were at prior to the Palestinian Intifada (Uprising) on Sept. 13, 2000." The source told AL HAYAT that due to this security agreement between Israel and the PA, the PA security forces in Nablus "will work round the clock in all areas in this city" and that the Israeli army "will not enter Nablus except during an emergency and after notifying the PA."

The Israeli daily Maariv has also revealed on Wednesday that the PA has been granted more security privileges in Nablus, ASHARQ AL AWSAT reported Thursday. However, the PA denied the claims stating it "has refused such reports which insinuate that the PA is collaborating with Israel in order to target Palestinians." An unnamed, high-ranking PA security source told ASHARQ AL AWSAT, "this is an attempt to tarnish the reputation of the PA and portray it as collaborating and not coordinating with the Israelis over security issues." He added, "Yes, we are coordinating with the Israelis when it comes to security issues and this is part of the agreement which actually founded the Palestinian Authority. However, I would like to say that this coordination is between prisoners (Palestinians) and those who are imprisoning them (Israelis). This coordination is for the interest of the Palestinians and not the Israelis. We do not give the Israelis any information about Hamas and neither do they (give information to the PA), if this is what some people are seeking to know."

Another source told ASHARQ AL AWSAT that it is not true that the PA has become solely responsible for the security situation in Nablus. "Israelis can enter Nablus whenever they want and arrest whoever they seek," the source told the daily. Although some sources said that the Israeli army will not enter Nablus before notifying the PA, the source explained that "regarding this issue, the main thing is that the Israelis will notify us at any time if there is a complaint about things in Nablus so that we take action instead of them."
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Title Annotation:PALESTINE-ISRAEL
Publication:The Daily Middle East Reporter (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Nov 18, 2010
Words:634
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