RAMALLAH, West Bank, April 13, 2009 – Palestinian security officials said on Sunday that they had found a Hamas bomb-making factory underneath a mosque in the occupied West Bank.
“Security forces found a bomb-making factory inside a mosque in Qalqiliya,” an interior ministry statement said. “Many of the bombs were ready to use and many of them were of industrial grade.”
A senior security official told AFP that Fatah-led Palestinian security forces had detained “many” people for questioning after the discovery, saying: “This factory belongs to Hamas.”
The revelation was likely to increase tensions between the two main factions whose long-running feud exploded in June 2007 when the Islamist Hamas group booted out Fatah loyalists from Gaza after a week of deadly street battles.
The move left Fatah’s power base confined to the West Bank and since then the rivals have accused each other of persecuting their members.
Egypt has sought for months to mediate reconciliation talks with the aim of creating a unity government, but earlier this month it said was putting those efforts temporarily on hold.