Hamas: Imam killed to extract 'sham confession'

Hamas on Sunday accused Palestinian forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas of torturing one of its leaders to death to extract "sham confessions" that the Islamist group was trying to set up a West Bank militia.

Hamas: Imam killed to extract 'sham confession'
Abbas has opened an investigation into the death of 45-year-old Majd al-Barghouthi, a relative of a Hamas minister, in an Israeli jail. Abbas's security force said on Friday that Barghouthi, who is also a preacher, had died of a stroke.

"Imam Barghouthi was subjected to all kinds of torture for a week. The information we have now is that he resisted uttering statements dictated by his jailers about a Hamas executive force in the West Bank," Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq told Reuters.

"We have no intention of setting up such a force," said Rishq, who lives in exile in Syria.

Tension between Hamas and Fatah has increased since Hamas took control of Gaza by force last year. Fatah holds sway in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Şubat 2008, 11:51