The Western-backed Palestinian Authority has sentenced a Hamas fighter to 20 years in prison over a deadly 2009 shootout with Palestinian police, a court official said Tuesday.Then, today,
The sentence infuriated Hamas and cast a shadow over plans to hold a second round of reconciliation talks in Syria with its Fatah rivals later this month.
Alaa Hisham Diab was sentenced by a military court on Sunday after having been arrested following a May 2009 battle in the West Bank town of Qalqilya that left three Palestinian security forces and two Hamas fighters dead.
Ahmad Mubaid, the head of the military court, said the conviction was a "criminal matter and not a political one," and that Diab received a military trial "because the crime was against the military establishment."
Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups on Wednesday threatened the leaders of the Western-backed Fatah movement over the arrest of fighters in the West Bank.That might throw a monkey-wrench into the latest round of Hamas/Fatah unification talks.
Masked representatives of the groups gave a press conference in which they slammed the detention of militants by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, which Hamas drove out of Gaza in June 2007.
"What is happening in the West Bank is a vicious attack on the sons of the resistance... it has taken a dangerous turn that requires a severe response," they said in a joint statement.
"This response will target the leaders of the Fatah movement in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip."
Unfortunately, I couldn't find the names of the "other Palestinian militant groups" that participated in the press conference.
But here's a picture of the event from the Hamas Al Qassam website, maybe you can recognize some of the representatives.