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Palestinian Fatah group says Iran trying to spread chaos in West Bank

In World
April 03, 2024

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – The main Palestinian faction in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday accused Iran of trying to spread chaos in its territory and said it would oppose operations from outside that had nothing to do with the Palestinian cause.

Fatah, the movement that controls the Palestinian Authority, said it would not allow “our sacred cause and the blood of our people to be exploited” and said it would act against any interference from outside aimed at harming security forces or national institutions.

Israel has long accused Iran of helping Palestinian armed groups including Hamas, the Islamist group in Gaza which led the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, and which has become more deeply entrenched in the West Bank over recent years.

Last month, the Israeli military said security forces had stopped advanced weapons including anti tank mines from being smuggled into the West Bank.

In the past, Iran has not denied providing support to the armed groups, saying whatever backing it gives is at the request of the Palestinians.

The statement from Fatah came as the Palestinian Authority has asked the United Nations Security Council to vote this month to make it a full U.N. member, a move that would add to mounting global pressure for a two state solution with Israel.

Occupied by Israel after the 1967 Middle East war, the West Bank has been at the heart of decades of conflict with the Palestinians, who want the area as the heart of a future independent state that would also include Gaza and have East Jerusalem as its capital.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the start of the war in Gaza last October and thousands have been detained, as violence has surged across the area, with more than a dozen Israelis killed in attacks by Palestinians.

(Reporting by Ali Sawafta; Writing by James Mackenzie and Alison Williams)

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