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Hamas Offers Amnesty to Fatah Leaders
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- On its first day of full rule in Gaza, the Islamic militant Hamas on Friday granted amnesty to Fatah leaders, signaling that it seeks conciliation with the defeated forces of moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Many had feared more bloodshed, particularly after victorious Hamas gunmen executed several Fatah fighters in the streets gangland-style on Thursday, in the final phase of the decisive five-day battle over Gaza.
Gazans awoke to the new reality of Hamas control Friday, fraught with uncertainty and fear that they'll become even poorer and more isolated. Gaza's crossings with Egypt and Israel _ lifelines for the fenced-in territory _ have been closed this week, and it was not clear if they would reopen. Extended closure could quickly lead to a humanitarian crisis.
A Hamas spokesman said Palestinian police, now under Hamas command, would take up positions at the crossings, but it's unlikely Israel would acquiesce to such a deployment, after Hamas militants frequently attacked the passages in the past.
The Palestinian territories are in effect split in two. Gaza is now controlled by Hamas, which has close ties to Syria and Iran. The more populous West Bank, with about 2 million residents to Gaza's 1.4 million, is dominated by the more moderate Fatah, which has ties to Israel and the West.
Friday, June 15, 2007 : Al Jazeera talks to Palestinians in Gaza about the recent violence and what the future holds. With Hamas fighters now in control of the Gaza Strip, Al Jazeera spoke to two young Palestinians living in the territory about the events of the past few days, how it has affected them personally, and what they feel the future holds for the Palestinians.
Lina al-Sharif, 18, student in Gaza City
Fighting has convulsed the Gaza Strip
Fatah loyalists were on the buildings opposite and the Hamas fighters were shooting from our building. Many windows were broken and bullets were flying into our house.
My dad said we must move to my aunt's house - which is very close - so we went there and stayed for seven or eight hours, then we were told it was safe and we went home.
The Hamas loyalists on our roof came down and said: "Forgive us for the damage."
I said: 'It's hard to forgive but, OK, we have to forgive."Read More