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Hamas calls halt to unity talks
Hamas has accused Fatah, the Palestinian president's movement, of mounting a plot to overthrow the Hamas-led government and vowed to avenge its members killed in factional fighting.
Referring to unity talks, Ayman Taha also said on Saturday: "As long as the leaders of the coup within Fatah are continuing the killings, there can be no dialogue."
But Tawfiq Abu Khoussa, a Fatah spokesman, blamed Hamas for starting the latest round of fighting. "We in Fatah did not stop the dialogue," he said, referring to talks on a national unity government.
At least 48 Palestinians have been killed since Abbas called for new elections last month.
The streets of Gaza City were empty on Saturday after the previous day's fighting and shops and markets remained closed.
But Fatah and Hamas clashed again near the Islamic University, killing at least four in some of the fiercest fighting since Hamas's election victory a year ago.
One of the dead was believed to be a university student who was caught in the crossfire, witnesses said. Several people were also injured in the clash.
A member of the Hamas-led police force died of his wounds overnight, hospital officials said, bringing the toll from Friday's factional fighting to 18.
In the latest of a string of tit-for-tat abductions, four members of a security force loyal to Fatah, including Abed Abdeen, a local commander in the southern Gaza Strip, were taken captive by unknown gunmen.
Abdeen's relatives later said that seven Hamas men in the southern town of Khan Younis had been seized in retaliation.
Hamas mounted an overnight raid on the Gaza headquarters of the Preventive Security Service, a force dominated by Fatah members. Hamas attacked the compound with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades but no injuries were reported.
Grenades were also fired at the home of Rashid Abu Shbak, an Abbas loyalist in charge of internal security in the Palestinian Authority. It was unclear whether Shbak was home at the time, but no injuries were reported.
Fighting also took place outside the home Abbas, and the home of Mahmoud Zahar, the Hamas foreign minister. Hamas officials said Zahar's home was damaged by two rocket-propelled grenades.