Fatah accuses Hamas rivals of detaining 500 members in Gaza

December 31, 2018 GMT

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party says the rival Hamas movement has detained hundreds of its members in Gaza.

The arrests on Monday came as Fatah prepared to mark the 54th anniversary of its founding.

The movement says that Gaza’s Hamas rulers have banned pro-Abbas loyalists from organizing events to mark the occasion and rounded up 500 activists.

The Hamas-run Interior Ministry denies the accusations, saying it only summoned 38 local Fatah leaders “to maintain order.”

Hamas also is allowing supporters of Abbas’ rival in Fatah, Mohammed Dahlan, to light torches and stage marches.

Fatah and Hamas have been bitter rivals since Hamas, an Islamic militant group, toppled Abbas’ forces and seized control of Gaza in 2007.