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Hamas Says Abbas Decrees "Worthless"
GAZA CITY — The ruling Hamas movement fired back Thursday, June 14, at President Mahmoud Abbas after he sacked its government and declared emergency in the Palestinian territories.
"Hamas rejects the Abbas decisions," senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters.
"In practical terms these decisions are worthless. Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh remains the head of the government even if it was dissolved by the president," he said.
Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led government and declared a state of emergency.
He held out the prospect of early elections as soon as the situation on the ground permits.
"This proves that the presidency and Fatah do not want to solve the problems," said Abu Zuhri.
"Hamas is examining response to Abbas's decision, which was taken under American and Israeli pressure."
At least 29 people were killed in Gaza Thursday, including 18 Fatah men found in the headquarters of Abbas's Preventive Security force, hospital officials said.
In all, at least 110 people have been killed in six days of fighting that many of Gaza's impoverished 1.5 million people saw as a civil war.
Hamas celebrated Thursday victory over rival Fatah in the Gaza Strip.
"What is happening in Gaza is the second liberation of the Gaza Strip from the band of collaborators after the first liberation from the bands of settlers" in 2005, Abu Zuhri said.
For Hamas fighters, some in camouflage uniforms, the fall of the security headquarters was a cause for celebration.
They fired gunshots in the air to seal their victory and handed out chocolates to local people in the coastal enclave.
Others paraded in the streets and showed off weaponry seized from Fatah, whose forces the United States has helped train and arm in a bid to counter the rise of Hamas -- to little effect.