Hamas on Friday denied allegations that its security forces refused to allow a Fatah delegation to enter Gaza.
Ismail Jaber, a former security chief and aide to President Mahmoud Abbas, told Ma’an that he and three other Fatah leaders were denied entry to Gaza by Hamas border guards at the Erez crossing on Friday afternoon.
Hamas border guards took the officials’ ID cards and refused to return them, and the group was made to wait for 45 minutes before giving up and returning to the West Bank, Jaber said.
The Interior Ministry in Gaza said in a statement that the Fatah delegation only waited for 10 minutes at the border, and refused to wait any longer for border guards to call their supervisors to arrange the group’s entry.
One member of the group, Sakher Bseso, "cursed God" and insulted the officers, the ministry added.
The ministry said it did not forbid anyone from entering the Gaza Strip, pointing to Fatah leader Nabil Shaath’s visit to the enclave on Sunday.
"Fatah is still dealing in provocative and exclusionary ways as it sees only itself in the Palestinian arena and considers Gaza to be in chaos without a government," the ministry said.
Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf insisted that the delegation was refused entry and accused Hamas leaders of holding the strip hostage.
Some Hamas leaders are not interested in reconciliation, Assaf said in a statement.
The Fatah delegation planned to visit Gaza for reconciliation talks to implement the unity agreement signed by Fatah leader and President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal last May.