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Palestinian Authority arrest raid sparks deadly West Bank clashes

By AFP - Sep 21,2022 - Last updated at Sep 21,2022

Palestinian protesters clash with Palestinian security forces in Nablus in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, following the arrest of two members of the Islamist group Hamas (AFP photo)

NABLUS, Palestinian Territories — A rare operation by the Palestinian Authority security forces to arrest a Hamas member sparked clashes in the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday, killing one.

A statement from the security forces confirmed the death of bystander Firas Yaish and said they were "waiting for a medical report", on the circumstances of his killing.

He was killed "in a place where no security personnel were present", forces spokesman Talal Dweikat said in a statement.

Unrest persisted through the morning, with hundreds of youths hurling rocks at PA armoured vehicles and the sound of gunfire ringing out across the city centre, AFP correspondents reported.

Ahmed, 26, a protester who declined to give his family name citing personal security concerns, told AFP the protesters' anger was fuelled by "security coordination between the PA and the occupation [Israel]".

Hamas, historic rivals of the Abbas’s secular Fateh movement that controls the PA, condemned the arrest of 30-year-old Musaab Shtayyeh, calling it a “kidnapping... a national crime” and a “stain” on the PA’s image.

It demanded the immediate release of Shtayyeh and Ameed Tbaileh, who was arrested with him, and blasted the PA for keeping up security coordination with Israel.

While Abbas’s forces maintain security ties with Israel, which has occupied the West Bank since 1967, PA raids targeting Hamas members are not common.

Fateh and Hamas have made various reconciliation attempts in recent years but relations remain tense. Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2007, when it ousted PA forces from the coastal enclave in deadly street battles.

The northern West Bank has suffered near daily Israeli raids in recent months. Dozens of Palestinians have been killed in the raids.

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