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Palestinian forces arrest 12 Hamas members
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Security forces loyalty to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrested 12 Hamas members in West Bank during a crackdown against the Islamic movement, Hamas said Thursday.

The arrests, by the forces loyal to Abbas of Fatah movement, took place in the cities of Nablus, Salfeet and Hebron, said a Hamas statement.

The arrests fuel more tension between rival Hamas and Fatah and complicate any effort to reconcile the two movements which might resume dialogue early next month, according to well-informed Palestinian sources.

Hamas thwarted an Egyptian initiative to hold an inter- Palestinian reconciliation dialogue, saying it can not sit with Fatah while its supporters and members in West Bank face a Fatah- led clampdown.

The two sides have been trading politically-motivated abductions against their dissidents since Hamas routed pro-Abbas forces and seized the Gaza Strip in June 2007.

Hamas says it released Fatah prisoners in Gaza to pave the way for the dialogue, but accuses Fatah of intensifying the crackdown against the Islamists in West Bank.

Egypt put off the dialogue which was scheduled for Nov. 9 and no new date has been set yet.

(Xinhua News Agency November 20, 2008)

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