The Palestinian Authority (PA) claimed its security forces caught a large Hamas cell that was planning to harm the security of Arab residents in Judea and Samaria by attacking the PA security apparatus.
PA Security Forces spokesperson Adnan Damiri said that Hamas had established a cell in the region to undermine security, according to the report on Israel Radio (Kol Yisrael) on Monday.
Damiri added that members of the cell – who were arrested in northern Samaria likely near the PA governmental seat of Ramallah – admitted to planning an attack and training to be able to carry it out.
Hassan Yusuf, a senior Hamas member in the Judea and Samaria region who was recently released from jail by Israel, denied the claims.
Lending credence to the PA claims is the fact that last summer the IDF thwarted an attempt by Hamas to stage a coup against the PA in Judea-Samaria.
In recent days the PA has cracked down on Hamas, arresting over 100 of its members throughout the area of Judea and Samaria. Just last Thursday night a full 50 Hamas members were arrested and likewise electronic equipment belonging to the terrorist group was seized.
Hamas has threatened that if the crackdown continues the PA security apparatus will be in danger. It likewise accused the PA of conducting the arrests to try and appease Israel in response to the wave of Ramadan terror attacks emanating from territory under PA control.
The latest incidents come after negotiations to form a new unity government between the PA and Hamas reached an "impasse" last week, with Hamas saying the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) should not be tasked with forming the government. Hamas does not currently have representation in the PLO.
The bitter rivalry between Hamas and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction was most vividly given expression after the 2006 elections in Gaza which Hamas won by a large margin, and which it followed by violently purging Fatah from the coastal enclave the following year.