8 wounded as PA, al-Aqsa gunmen exchange fire in Nablus
Contributed by Lucia
"Palestinian security forces in pursuit of 13 members of the al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades – the military wing of Fatah - came under fire in the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday afternoon after the fugitives ambushed them in the Kasbah area of the Old City.
The men, who escaped from a Palestinian Authority prison facility last week, denied they had opened fire first and said they were attacked by the security troops. Latest reports tally the casualties from the exchange of fire at eight – five of which are PA security officers, one an al-Aqsa gunman and the remaining two were civilians, a mother and son who were caught in the crossfire.
Palestinian officials said troops were searching the Old City for the 13 fugitives when they were fired upon.
The group broke out of the Jneid prison in Nablus, where they were being held after having turned themselves in as part of an amnesty deal which would see them being removed from Israel's wanted list in exchange for time served. This is the second time that the group escaped from prison.
One of the operatives told Ynet that the group had decided to flee the prison because the inmates felt the PA was delaying action on their case, and that Israel would not genuinely pardon them. They also claimed that the conditions in the prison were insufferable, and demanded that the mayor of Nablus resign due to the foot-dragging.
Palestinian authorities said however that the incident is testament to the end of the era of anarchy in Nablus and that the new rule was making its presence known. One Palestinian officer said that the PA was determined to return the fugitives to custody, even at the cost of human life. "If they remain at large," he said, "it will provide Israel with an excuse not to go through with the amnesty deal."......"
General Dayton: After all the millions you have spent on them and the US/Jordanian training they have received, these PA dogs won't hunt! Give it up and save Uncle Sam some cash.
On second thought, keep it up. All their weapons will probably end up in Hamas' hands, as happened in Gaza already. So, please arm them to the hilt General Dayton.