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Hamas calls halt to unity talks
by Al Jazeera (reposted)
Saturday Jan 27th, 2007 10:06 AM
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.

University clashes

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.

Overnight raid

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.

by IOL (reposted)
Saturday Jan 27th, 2007 10:23 AM
GAZA CITY — Inter-Palestinian fighting flared again Saturday morning, January27 , as the ruling Hamas movement has suspended talks with President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party in protest at the renewed violence after a short lull.

"Hamas has decided to freeze national dialogue with Fatah to condemn the deadly clashes and the crimes committed against its members," spokesman Ismail Radwan said Friday night, January26 , reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Fatah was swift to react.

"This announcement does not surprise us. Hamas does not want a government of national unity. It's not possible to have a dialogue with killers," said Maher Maqdad, the Fatah spokesman in Gaza.

Fatah and Hamas had on Tuesday begun a new round of negotiations on forming a unity government acceptable to Western donors, just two days after Abbas held talks in Syria with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.

Tensions had flared between the rival factions after Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, had called on December16 ,2006 , for early elections.

Hamas, which won a resounding election victory exactly one year ago and has struggled to govern since then in the face of international isolation, denounced the call as a "coup d'etat".


Clashes between the two rival factions have left 15 people dead and 45 injured in two days, medics in the Gaza Strip said Saturday.

"The number of dead has reached 15 since Thursday night," Muawiya Hassanein, chief of emergency services, told AFP.

Hassanein said 42 had been injured in the fighting, but doctors at Gaza City's Al Shifa hospital later reported three more people injured.


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