Minutes after three foreign captives were rescued by Palestinian security personnel, several armed men belonging to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades burned down the governor’s headquarters in Jenin.
Zakaria Zubaidi, a Brigades leader, denied on Tuesday the burning of the governor’s building was in protest against Palestinian President Yasir Arafat’s appointment of Qaddura Musa as governor, Aljazeera’s correspondent in Jenin, Ali Sumodi, reported.
Musa, 50, Fatah secretary-general for Jenin, had reportedly refused to pay the salaries of Brigades’ members.
By early Saturday morning, the building housing the Palestinian intelligence services was also on fire, Aljazeera’s correspondent reported.
Zubaidi said the building was targeted because data had been gathered on undisclosed members of the Brigades, Aljazeera’s Sumodi reported.
Armed men of the Brigades were also preventing firefighters and civil defence cars from reaching the area, he said.
AFP quoted Zubaidi as saying the buildings were torched as the Palestinian security services helped the Israeli army in the arrests of Palestinian activists.
The Palestinian political scene has been rocked in recent weeks, as calls for fighting corruption and removing corrupt officials have increased among resistance factions.
The unrest is indicative of a power struggle that has erupted between Arafat’s old guard and a younger, pro-reform generation in Fatah, possibly staking out turf before Israel implements a plan to evacuate Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005.