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Palestinian forces scuffle with Hamas protesters in West Bank — police

By AFP - Dec 15,2018 - Last updated at Dec 15,2018

Palestinian security forces gather during a rally by Hamas supporters marking the 31st anniversary of the founding of the Islamist movement, in the occupied West Bank town of Hebron, on Friday (AFP photo)

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories —Palestinian security forces scuffled with Hamas supporters as they broke up a protest on Friday in the West Bank city of Hebron, witnesses and police said.

The protest in the southern West Bank city was planned in support of the Islamist group on the anniversary of its founding.

On social media sites, activists posted videos showing the security forces using batons against both male and female demonstrators in Hebron.

In Nablus in the northern West Bank, protesters from other factions clashed with Hamas demonstrators after they raised its flag, witnesses said.

Adnan Al Damiri, spokesman for the Palestinian police, confirmed they prevented a pro-Hamas protest in Hebron, called initially to demonstrate against Israel.

"But Hamas... demonstrated against the Palestinian Authority [PA] and its security services in the city centre and not against the [Israeli] occupation."

The PA, led by President Mahmud Abbas and his Fateh Party, cooperates closely with Israeli security, while Hamas has fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

Hamas cells operate in the West Bank despite the PA and Israel seeking to arrest them.

Two Israeli Forces members were killed on Thursday and two other Israelis injured when a man opened fire at a bus stop at a housing unit in the West Bank, before fleeing.

Hamas has claimed two other recent shooting attacks in the West Bank but has so far not taken responsibility for Thursday's attack.

The Islamist movement has controlled the Gaza Strip since forcing out Abbas's forces in 2007, with the two at loggerheads since.

An Egyptian security delegation visited the West Bank's main city of Ramallah to meet with Abbas late Thursday to try to calm tensions.

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