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Violence continues in Gaza
by Al Jazeera (reposted)
Sunday Jan 28th, 2007 9:07 AM
Hamas and Fatah fighters have continued battling each other in the streets of the Gaza Strip, after a weekend of violence that has left more than two dozen Palestinians dead.
Hamas has accused Fatah of mounting a plot to overthrow the Hamas-led government and vowed to avenge its members killed in factional fighting.

The UN has called on both parties to "cease clashes".

An explosion early on Sunday morning rocked the Gaza City home of a bodyguard to Mohammed Dahlan, the Fatah local commander, but the guard was not in the building and no casualties were reported.

Rocket attack

In another attack, anti-tank rockets and mortar shells were fired at Fatah's police headquarters.

At least eight people were wounded in exchanges of fire between the sides overnight, Palestinian security officials said on Sunday.

Major roads in Gaza City were blocked by concrete barriers put up by security personnel loyal to both factions, causing traffic jams as drivers were forced on to alternate roads.

Large security details loyal to both groups deployed at major street corners and outside potential targets, like the homes of Mahmoud Abbas, the president and leader of secular Fatah, and Ismail Haniya, the prime minister from the Islamist Hamas movement.

Security was also reinforced around Palestinian media outlets, and two Gaza City universities were shuttered.

Late on Saturday night, a 12-year-old boy was killed and two people were wounded in northern Gaza during a shootout, witnesses and hospital officials said.

The new death brought the Palestinian death toll from the fighting in the last three days to more than 22.

The boy's father, Baher Abu al-Karaya, a local Fatah leader, was injured in the gun battle. From his hospital bed, he told The Associated Press that Hamas fighters attacked his home.

Plea for calm

Hamas and an Abbas spokesman appealed for calm on Saturday.

by IOL (reposted)
Sunday Jan 28th, 2007 10:08 AM
GAZA CITY — Deadly clashes between rival Hamas and Fatah continued unabated in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, January28 , amid mounting calls for restraint to end the bloody power struggle.

An explosion rocked the Gaza City home of a bodyguard to senior Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan, reported Agence France Presse (AFP).

Anti-tank rockets and mortar shells were fired Sunday at the headquarters of a Fatah-controlled police force in Gaza.

The sounds of exploding grenades and automatic weapons fire also echoed across Gaza City as gunbattles raged through the night, witnesses said.

But there were no casualties reported in either the bomb blast or the fighting.

Two Palestinians, including a11 -year-old boy, were killed overnight in the northern town of Beit Lahiya, while two others died when a landmine they were planting exploded prematurely.

The new fatalities brought the death toll from infighting over the past three days to at least25 , including a two-year-old child killed by a stray bullet during a firefight in the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis Friday.

Major roads in Gaza City were blocked by concrete barriers put up by security personnel loyal to both factions, causing traffic jams as drivers were forced on to alternate roads.

Since the fighting began Thursday night, nine members of Hamas and five members of Fatah have been kidnapped in tit-for-tat abductions in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

The surge in violence has torpedoed talks on forming a national unity between the ruling Hamas movement and President Mahmoud Abbas's once-dominant Fatah party.

Clashes between Fatah and Hamas supporters killed nearly 30 people in December.

Calm Calls

Palestinian Premier Ismail Haniya called Sunday for calm in the Gaza Strip after the worst infighting since Hamas won elections a year ago.

"We call on all the Palestinian people to protect the national unity, to make the language of dialogue and reason prevail and to withdraw weapons from the streets, and put an end to the tensions," Haniya said at his weekly cabinet meeting in Gaza City.

He vowed to take the necessary measures "to contain this major crisis," though he provided no details.

"We call on president Abu Mazen (Mahmud Abbas) to take the urgent decision to remove the gunmen and military checkpoints that have spread throughout the streets of Gaza," Haniya added.

He labeled a grenade attack against the home of Foreign Minister Mahmud Zahar "the gravest of acts and an attack against the government."

Gulf states also issued an urgent appeal Sunday for rival Palestinian factions to end infighting and return to talks on forming a national unity government.


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