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Passage Granted to Fatah Members Escaping Hamas
Babel-Fish | August 21, 2008 at 08:44 pmby
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Approximately 180 men who were fleeing from the Hamas, some of whom had been armed, were allowed entry into Israel on Saturday night. The decision was made by the political echelon on the basis of humanitarian grounds. Twenty two of the men were injured and were provided with medical care in Israel.
On Sunday, at the request of Palestinian President Mr. Mahmoud Abass and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who took responsibility for their security, the IDF began returning the escaped Fatah members to the Gaza strip. Israeli authorities halted the process, however, as they received information that the Fatah members were being arrested by Hamas and that their lives were in immediate danger.
Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, ordered an immediate re-evaluation of the situation and direct discussions with Palestinian officials in order to convince them to allow the refugees entry to the Ramallah area instead. Under this instruction, the head of the Defense Ministry's Bureau for Security and Diplomacy, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Gilad, consulted with the Palestinian Prime Minister and the civil administration and started to coordinate the process.