GAZA City, Gaza Strip – Palestinian security forces on Saturday briefly detained three top members of a faction that claimed an attack that wounded two Israelis, officials said, marking the first such move since Mahmoud Abbas was elected leader last month.
The detained men, who were members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (search), were held for five hours by Palestinian security forces, then released, according to the DFLP.
Last week, Palestinian forces deployed throughout Gaza (search) as part of an effort to prevent rocket attacks on Israeli targets, but Israel has complained they have not made any moves to disrupt the militant networks.
On Saturday, Palestinian security officials in the southern Gaza refugee camp of Khan Younis (search) arrested three members of the DFLP central committee: Issam Abu Daqqa, Talal abu Zarifa, Ziyad Jarjhoun, according to the DFLP. Police have asked other members to come in for questioning.
The DFLP said the arrests proved Palestinian officials were caving in to Israeli pressure.
"We strongly condemn the Palestinian Authority's arrest of our fellow freedom fighters," said Saleh Zeidan, a DFLP official. "We call for their immediate release and we call on the political parties to reject these arrests and to renew its commitment to the choice of resistance and the intefadeh."
The arrests came ahead of a Middle East summit Tuesday, where Israeli and Palestinian officials were expected to declare a formal cease-fire ending four years of violence.
The DFLP claimed responsibility for the attack Thursday near the Kissufim border crossing that began when Nabil Aidi, 38, threw hand grenades and opened fire on troops, who returned fire and killed him. Two soldiers were lightly wounded.