Palestinian security forces “arrested six of our members four days ago in Jabaliyya refugee camp (just north of Gaza City) as part of an arrest campaign launched Wednesday,” the group said in a statement.
The arrests followed the bombing of a US diplomatic convoy in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday that left three US security guards dead.
The PFLP, which makes up the second largest component of the Palestine Liberation Organisation after Palestinian president Yasir Arafat’s Fatah faction, called on the Palestinian Authority to “free its members immediately”.
Three members of the Popular Resistance Committees, a fringe group, were also arrested in the Jabaliyya camp in connection with the attack, Palestinian security sources said.
No Palestinian resistance group, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The arrests were announced as Israel called up several hundred reserve soldiers to serve in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, because of fears of a new wave of Palestinian resistance attack.
“These actions are consistent with the daily escalation by the Israeli army”
An Israeli military source said there would be five battalions of reserve soldiers. Asked about the call-up, Israeli army spokeswoman Ruth Yaron told Israel Radio: “We are facing another wave of terror.”
“Unfortunately, due to budget cuts … when we currently face a wave of alerts and attacks, we are forced to recruit reserve troops on too short notice,” she said.
She did not say how many reserves had been called up, but military sources put the number at several hundreds.
Israeli society is highly militarised with all citizens, with certain exceptions, obliged to serve in the armed forces.
Chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Ureikat, criticised the Israeli move.
“These actions are consistent with the daily escalation by the Israeli army. It’s an indication that the Israeli government will continue its aggression, incursions and curfews and this won’t lead us anywhere,” he said.