Nablus city, in the northern part of the West Bank, was the scene of clashes between fighters of group which belongs to the Al Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fateh movement, and Palestinian security forces also loyal to Fateh; injuries were reported.Eyewitnesses reported that Palestinian security forces deployed in Al Duwwar area in the center of Nablus and in other areas on the edges of the city exchanged fire with the fighters.
Medical sources reported that one fighter, identified as Sufian Qandeel, was shot and injured in the Old City of Nablus. Another resident, a civilian, was injured in the Old City.
Local sources reported that the clashes are related to the recent escape of twelve fighters, members of the Al Aqsa Brigades, from the Jneid prison in Nablus. The fighters said that the fled the prison in protest to their harsh treatment and bad conditions.
The fighters escaped last Friday after a fight with the prison wardens, members of the Palestinian security Forces.
Mahdi Abu Ghazala, leader of the Brigades in Nablus, told the Maan news Agency that he and the rest of the fighters had to step out due to the “cruel and harsh treatment the fighters are subjected to on the hands of the security forces”.
He added that masked security personnel attacked the fighters and struck them with batons, which comes as a direct violation to the agreement which required the fighters to hand themselves to the Palestinian security forces instead of being arrested by Israel
Abu Ghazala added that the fighters will not return to the prison but said that they will remain committed to the ceasefire with Israel. The first group of fighters handed themselves to the security forces on January 1, 2008 while the second group of fighters handed themselves on January 8, 2008.
Israel claims that the fighters were responsible for killing more than 1100 Israelis, including soldiers and settlers, since 2001.
In an interview with the Israeli online daily, Haaretz, former leader of the Al Aqsa Brigades, Zakariyya Zobeidi, said that Israel never honored its commitment to pardon the fighters who turned themselves in after the agreed-upon three month period.
Haaretz quoted Zobeidi as saying that Israel and the Palestinian Authority lied to them as they were promised to be imprisoned for three months, and after that they would be pardoned by Israel if they do not get involved in any attacks, but the promise to release them after three months was never kept.