The Al-Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fateh movement, stated that all of its military branches will be united under one umbrella, adding that all efforts for this unity have been concluded and it is putting the final touches to the agreement. An official unity announcement will be made in the coming few weeks.The Pal Press News Agency reported that Abu Mohammad, media spokesperson of the al-Aqsa Brigades, Martyr Imad al-Amoudy Branch, said that this unity will include all branches in different parts of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and will be run under one military council.

Abu Mohammad added that all obstacles that hindered the unification efforts have been overcome, and that all branches approve of this unity.

As for media reports claiming that Iran and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah Party are financing the brigades, Abu Mohammad stated that “the brigades cannot confirm or deny these reports, and will always keep their financial sources discreet”.

He said that unity talks started more than 30 months ago, adding that all leaders, including political leaders, support these unity efforts, and are determined to ensure their success as the al-Aqsa Brigades forms the backbone of Fateh movement.

The Middle East Newspaper, based in London, reported that recent differences led to internal splits within different branches on the al-Aqsa Brigades, while some groups were formed and are receiving financial support from Iran and Hezbollah.

The paper said that such differences led to serious splits within the main branches of the Brigades, and that one of the officials of the Ayman Jouda Brigades split and formed a new group under the name of Abdul-Qader al-Husseiny Brigades, and is trying to recruit dozens of gunmen, members of other armed formations.

But, Fateh officials in the Gaza Strip described what the Middle East paper reported as a “figment of imagination that aims at having big headlines on its main page”, adding that “the armed wings of Fateh in Gaza have been disarmed by the Hamas-controlled security forces in Gaza, while their weapons have been confiscated”.

They added that the ideology of armed struggle against the occupation is still there, and is based on liberating Palestine through armed resistance, and that those gunmen do not have enough faith in the prospects of the peace process but are committed to the political approach and agenda of the Fateh movement that supports peace talks with Israel once it stops its violations.

The fighters in question have been targeted for arrest by the Hamas-run security forces in Gaza, while dozens have been arrested and imprisoned. Most of them currently operate in a discreet manner to avoid confrontation with Hamas despite the fact that their main goal, when putting differences aside, is fighting the Israeli occupation of Palestine.