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Fierce clashes shatter Gaza truce
Hamas fighters blew up a pro-Fatah radio station in Gaza today and gunmen exchanged heavy fire catching ambulances in the crossfire as a new wave of factional fighting left a three-day ceasefire in ruins.
Eight people have been killed since clashes erupted again yesterday, and during the night Fatah forces stormed a Hamas-affiliated university and dragged out eight people it said were Iranians helping the group.
In a symbol that the two sides had returned to open warfare, their respective radio stations stopped playing songs of national unity and broadcast songs about armed struggle and fighting the enemy.
More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in internal violence since Hamas won parliamentary elections last year and formed a cabinet. In the wake of the election, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and his Fatah movement took control of the security forces and Hamas established its own militia. The two forces have fought repeatedly in the streets despite a series of brief truces.
Egyptian mediators blamed Hamas for violating the latest ceasefire deal by ambushing an official convoy.
This morning, 50 officers from Mr Abbas's presidential guard surrounded the Hamas-led interior ministry and exchanged fire with gunmen guarding the building. Outside Gaza city, Hamas militants launched mortar shells at a Fatah training base.
The roads of Gaza were deserted, sealed off by makeshift roadblocks of rubbish and rubble. Only masked security officers, some with hand grenades clipped to their ammunition vests, were visible in the streets.
In northern Gaza two Fatah-affiliated security officers early this morning, hospital officials said.