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Palestinian PM Haniyeh Comes Under Attack; Clashes Break Out Between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza
by Democracy Now (reposted)
Friday Dec 15th, 2006 7:00 AM
Gunfights broke out today between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza City and Ramallah. The clashes come one day after Hamas accused Fatah gunmen of attempting to assassinate Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. We go to Gaza to speak with journalist Laila El Haddad and to Jerusalem to speak with Mouin Rabbani of the International Crisis Group.
Fears of a civil war between Palestinian factions inside Gaza and the West Bank are escalating. Gun fights broke out today between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza City and Ramallah. This comes one day after Hamas accused Fatah gunmen of attempting to assassinate Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Haniyeh's convoy was attacked shortly after it had crossed into Gaza from Egypt after a stand-off at the border.

One of Haniyeh's bodyguards died after being shot in the head. Haniyeh's son was injured in the shooting. Hamas officials have accused key Fatah legislator Mahmoud Dahlan of orchestrating the attack.

The fighting on Thursday began when Israel shut down the border crossing in order to prevent Haniyeh from re-entering Gaza after a fundraising tour. He was holding tens of millions of dollars in donations collected to help ease the economic crisis in Gaza. After a seven-hour standoff, border control guards linked to Fatah allowed Haniyeh to enter Gaza but without the money.

Tensions have been high all week between the rival Palestinian factions. On Monday three young boys were murdered on their way to school in Gaza - they were the sons of a senior intelligence official linked to President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement. On Sunday, gunmen believed to be linked to Fatah attacked the convoy of Interior Minister of the Hamas government.

* Laila El Haddad, Palestinian journalist and mother who lives in Gaza. She writes for Aljazeera.net and other publications. She maintains her own blog titled "Raising Youssef: A Diary of a Mother Under Occupation."
* Mouin Rabbani, senior Middle East analyst with the International Crisis Group and a contributing editor of Middle East report. He joins us on the line from Jerusalem.

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