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Fatah Gunmen Threaten Local Banks

Masked gunmen this week have taken to the streets of several Palestinian cities and neighborhoods to rally against a decision by a number of banks to close the accounts of Palestinian security prisoners held in Israeli prisons. The bank’s decision came in response to new IDF legislation, which went into effect on Saturday 9 May 2020 and which declares that “any person who conducts any transaction with assets, including money, in order to facilitate, further, fund or reward a person for carrying out terror-related offenses is himself committing an offense punishable with 10 years in prison and a substantial fine.” The closure of the prisoners’ accounts has sparked a wave of protests by many Palestinians, including political activists, families of the prisoners, and various Palestinian factions from across the political spectrum. In the areas of Jenin and Nablus, masked gunmen took to the streets to join the protests, firing shots into the air and threatening bank managers to backtrack on their decision.

Palestinian sources said the gunmen belonged to al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of the Fatah ruling faction, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by Israel, the European Union, Canada, and the USA. In one town several masked gunmen carrying M-16 rifles arrived at the entrance to the branch of Bank of Jordan. After firing several warning shots in the air, one of the gunmen read from a written statement: “We will strike with an iron fist, and everyone should know that our rifles will reach all those who comply with the Israeli move. It’s disgraceful to say that we that can’t support our [terrorist] prisoners and martyrs.” (VFI News)