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Growing fear of West Bank retribution
Three military jeeps and more than 20 armed members of the Palestinian security forces surrounded Fouad Frokh's family home in the early hours of the morning.
The Fatah-affiliated forces demanded to know the whereabouts of Fouad's father and then searched the house for weapons.
When they turned up nothing - no father, no weapons - they "arrested" Fouad's 16- and 18-year-old brothers.
"They really wanted my father," said Mr Frokh, 23, a video editor. "They thought because he's got a beard and goes to the mosque a lot that he is a Hamas supporter."
With Hamas taking almost complete control of Gaza after battling Fatah forces, there is growing fear in the West Bank that retribution will be meted out against the Islamic movement's supporters.
Gaza is a Hamas stronghold but the West Bank is Fatah territory.
Hamas, an Islamic organisation, rose to prominence in Gaza during two Palestinian uprisings and refuses to recognise or negotiate with Israel.
RAMALLAH - The telephone in the senior Fatah official's office in Ramallah began ringing incessantly shortly after 1 P.M. Thursday. His people in Gaza wanted advice on what to do. Hamas gunmen were surrounding their headquarters, the gunfights were growing fiercer. Should they surrender to Hamas, they asked, or continue fighting to the death? The senior official replied cautiously. "You're in charge," he said. "Do what you think is best."
At one point, the Gazan commander wanted to talk to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and ask his permission to surrender, since they had run out of munitions. But Abbas was busy meeting with the PLO leadership in Ramallah.
A few minutes later, another phone call came from Gaza. This time, the official realized it was over. "If you give in, don't let them take the weapons. Put all rockets and guns in the basement. Burn all the floors and then the basement and cars. When you surrender, don't agree to undress," he ordered his Gazan subordinate.
When his dead and wounded exceeded his remaining fighters, the Gazan commander surrendered.
The fate of Fatah's other headquarters in the Strip was similar. At noon, Hamas conquered Gaza's Preventive Security headquarters, which symbolized Fatah's corruption. But the Hamas group that took it over is already making Gazans miss the days of the corrupt PA, and even the Israeli occupation.Read More