More than 550 additional Palestinian policemen were deployed in Hebron for an operation against Hamas.
Those deployed Saturday night will join the 2,400 Palestinian policemen already in the Hebron area, according to an Israeli army spokesman. The force, trained in Jordan by U.S. Gen. Keith Dayton, is in the West Bank city on a temporary basis, the spokesman said.
“Their role is to curtail Hamas and take aim at the weapons of the resistance, not to enforce the law or protect citizens,” Hebron Police Chief Samih al-Saifi told the French press agency.
The deployment was authorized during an Oct. 22 meeting between the Israel Defense Forces and the Palestinian Security Service. The move is said to be an attempt to strengthen Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Palestinian forces in recent months have arrested dozens of Hamas members, confiscated weapons and explosives, and closed down several of the Islamist group’s charities, the French press agency reported.
A Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip condemned the deployment, saying it “served the Zionist enemy.”
Approximately 1,000 Jews live among more than 150,000 Palestinians in Hebron.