- Fatah - Hamas - Palestinian Territories - West Bank
Palestinian police found a Hamas-run bomb factory in the West Bank town of Hebron on Friday and arrested 11 people, a security official from the rival Fatah faction said.
"A major bomb factory run by Hamas was found today (Friday) by Palestinian police in a residential neighbourhood near Manara," in central Hebron, the official said on condition of anonymity.
"Materials that could be used to make dozens of kilos of explosives were seized and 11 people arrested," said the security official.
An Israeli army spokesman neither confirmed nor denied the report but spoke only of "Israeli army activity in Hebron."
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum vehemently denied the report.
"It is absolutely false. It is a lie," Barhum told AFP.
"The Palestinian Authority and its police did not find any such thing. They simply want to provide pretexts to justify arrests among our ranks, in a bid to weaken us in the West Bank," he said.
Barhum also accused the Palestinian police of "collaborating" with Israel and of seeking to undermine efforts to nail reconciliation talks between Hamas and the Fatah faction of president Mahmud Abbas.
Palestinians have been deeply divided since the Islamist movement seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after routing Abbas's Fatah forces in a week of bloody street clashes.
Fatah continues to administer the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Hamas-run security forces in Gaza have in recent months detained scores of members of Abbas's Fatah party while security forces in the West Bank carried out tit-for-tat arrests and raids on Hamas-linked organisations.