The Palestinian Authority released on Monday three Hamas operatives, who were arrested Monday on suspicions of attempting to launch Qassam shells at Israeli targets in the Northern Gaza Strip.

The releases followed the intervention of a top Egyptian diplomat in Gaza, and after the Islamic Jihad group declared one of its cells fired the Qassam shells the three were suspected to have fired. 

Hamas on Monday admitted that the three men were armed, but denied that they were involved in any shelling. Hamas demanded the immediate release of the three.

Palestinian interior ministry spokesperson Tawfiq Abu-Khousa confirmed Tuesday the release of the three Hamas men, saying that they were released after it was proven that they were not involved in any attack in the area, and after signing a document declaring full commitment to the truce agreement.

Abu-Khousa confirmed that the release of Hamas operative came after the intervention of a senior Egyptian diplomat in the Gaza Strip.

A Palestinian senior security source said Tuesday that the investigation of the incident revealed that the three were not involved in Monday’s shelling; therefore charges against them were limited to the public display of weapons. 

Israel harshly criticized the release of Hamas gunmen, expressing concerns that the PA might be back to Arafat’s “revolving door” policy. 

P.A police, Hamas men exchange fire in Beit Lahia

Monday evening, Palestinian Police and security men, arrested two Hamas members after attempting to fire homemade shells at Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip.

A Palestinian security source in Gaza reported that two armed Hamas members fired at the P.A security men while attempting to stop them from firing shells at Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, no injuries.

The source stated that the two members drove through a P.A checkpoint but were caught on another checkpoint erected near the area.

Palestinian police arrested the two members, and found homemade shells in the car they were driving.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesperson, told the Qatar based al-Jazeera TV, that ‘arresting or harming resistance fighters of Hamas, or any other movement, threatens to collapse peace efforts in the area.

Meanwhile, Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas said that the P.A will not tolerate any violations to cease fire, and added that it will act persistently against any group which violates the Palestinian decision to ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere in Palestine.