GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Hamas security forces arrested six protesters in Gaza City on Tuesday at a women-led demonstration demanding national reconciliation, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said. DFLP central committee members Mahmoud Khalaf and Nabil Attallah were among those detained at the weekly protest organized by women’s groups including the general union of Palestinian women, DFLP said in a statement. DFLP leader Saleh Zaydan told Ma’an that party members Nabil Dyab and Khaled Abu Sharekh were also detained. Zaydan denounced the aggressive response of security forces and called for the protesters’ immediate release. He urged the Hamas government to investigate the incident and to apologize for the arrests.
Witnesses told Ma’an that internal security forces detained a number of civil society leaders as they left the protest. Hamas security forces attacked female activists at last week’s demonstration, but protest leaders vowed to continue their campaign to end the division between Hamas and Fatah. “We were verbally insulted and hit by fists and sticks. Police tried to arrest some of us but despite that we will continue with our campaign which calls for ending the division,” Iktimal Hamad, a member of the union’s secretariat, told Ma’an after the Nov. 6 protest.
The Hamas government apologized for the attacks on Nov. 6 and promised to investigate. “The government clearly apologizes for what has happened, and the Ministry of Interior will form a commission of inquiry to determine the circumstances of the incident, because what happened does not reflect the culture of the government or the Palestinian people,” director of Hamas’ media office Ehab al-Ghusein said on Wednesday.