The Hamas-led police forces arrested on Sunday morning 34 Fatah loyalists, who had fled to nearby Israeli areas along with scores of others during clashes in eastern Gaza City on Saturday night.

Sami Abu Zhuhri, spokesman of Hamas in Gaza was quoted as saying that those detained today were placed in custody and that the suspects would be released as soon as they were cleared of suspicion.

The 34 Gazans, many of them from the Hellis family, the largest city clan, were returned back by Israel to Gaza, through the Eritz checkpint, where Hamas forces received them with vans, Israeli media sources reported.

The sources said that the return of this group came after the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, withdrew a request to Israel yesterday night to allow more than 150 people in Israel, in a bid to transfer them to the West Bank.

On Saturday, about 188 Fatah supporters including senior Fatah leader, Ahmad Hellis, fled a bloody fighting with Hamas forces in eastern Gaza neighborhood of Shija'iyya, when the Hamas police wanted to arrest 11 suspects, the Hellis clan refused to hand over the Hamas authorities.

The suspects were said to be involved in plotting a deadly blast on July 25, in which Five Hamas fighters and a 7-year-old girl, were killed on the Gaza coastal road in northern Gaza.

Fatah and Hamas have been at loggerheads since Hamas took power following January 2006 elections. In June 2007, the Islamic Hamas party took over the coastal territory amidst factional fighting with Fatah party.

One month later, President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah outlawed Hamas and installed a caretaker government in the West Bank.