Palestinian sources reported Thursday that a senior officer in Fatah’s preventive security services was killed and five other officers loyal to Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas were injured in clashes with Hamas gunmen in Gaza.
Tension within the PA remains high ahead of the deadline set by Abbas regarding the prisoners’ document of principles, which has been set for next week. Should Hamas reject the document, which calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian nation on the ’67 borders next to Israel, Abbas will declare a referendum on the issue.
The Fatah security officer, Hadad Afana, was hit by gunfire directed at his car as he was traveling through central Gaza City; he later died of his wounds at a local hospital. Meanwhile, five other preventive security services officers were injured after gunmen opened fire at them in Khan Younis.
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The Hamas-led PA government has accused the preventive security services of leading a recent demonstration during which officers broke into the Legislative Council building while firing in the air and shattering windows.
The protesters condemned a plan by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to make partial salary payments to the lowest paid workers in the Palestinian Authority.
In the past two days Hamas representatives have remained absent from deliberations between the various Palestinian factions, and the group has called for the cancellation of Abbas’ ultimatum, claiming the referendum initiative is aimed annulling Hamas’ victory in the January elections.
Also on Thursday, Abbas said he hopes a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert later this month will lead to a resumption of peace negotiations.
He repeated his opposition to Israel's plan to withdraw from parts of the West Bank and unilaterally set borders if peace efforts remain stalled.