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Hamas PM Haniyeh - attempt on his life escalated tensions Photo: AFP
Hamas PM Haniyeh - attempt on his life escalated tensions Photo: AFP
 
 

Hamas: Abbas declared war on Allah

Chairman of Hamas faction in parliament slams Palestinian president during mass Gaza rally, warns his movement will strike 'with an iron fist' those who hurt its members. Meanwhile, escalating tensions in Palestinian Authority deteriorate into gunbattles in streets – 20 people reported wounded

Ali Waked
Published: 12.15.06, 13:47 / Israel News

Chairman of the Hamas faction in parliament Khalil al-Haya, told a crowd of tens of thousands at a Hamas rally in Gaza Friday that "(Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas has declared war on Allah and on the will of the Palestinian people."

 

"We warn before it's too late that we shall strike with an iron fist all those involved in hurting our leaders and members, and those responsible for the attempt to assassinate the prime minister," he added.

 

Al-Haya accused the members of the Presidential Guard of launching the attack against Haniyeh, and referred to Abbas' anticipated speech Saturday: "We will fight with force for the voter's choice against those who want to bring about a coup."

 

Abbas' speech has caused much turmoil in the PA, as the president is expected to announce the dismissal of the government, and holding a referendum or early elections.

 

During the rally, Hamas speakers said that any proposal promoted by Abbas will be met with opposition.

 

Bloody clashes 

Twenty Palestinians were wounded, two critically, in exchanges of fire between warring factions in the Palestinian Authority Friday.

 

Sixteen people were wounded in Ramallah, four in Gaza. Fatah officials reported that several Hamas gunmen have barricaded themselves in the Nazer mosque in the city of Ramallah and are firing at Fatah and Palestinian security forces inside the mosque compound.

Assassination Attempt
Haniyeh’s bodyguard killed, son wounded in shooting attack / Associated Press
Palestinian PM’s bodyguard killed, his son, another bodyguard and political advisor wounded when gunmen open fire at their convoy as it leaves Rafah crossing; PA official: Abbas; presidential guard responsible
לכתבה המלאה

 

Witnesses added that PA security forces have begun covering their faces with masks as they try to overpower protestors and gunmen from both factions, mostly against Hamas.

 

The atmosphere in the city is reminiscent of a battlefield say residents, against the soundtrack of massive gunfire.

 

In Ramallah reports say that the Palestinian government has begun training a special security force in the West Bank which will answer directly to the government, similar to the one formed in Gaza which operates under the direct command of the minister of the interior.

 

Power struggle

According to a Fatah source it would appear that Hamas is seeking to emphasize that the movement also has power and presence in Ramallah – the largest West Bank city and home to President Mahmoud Abbas.

 

The Fatah official expressed concern that further deterioration of the situation will cost many lives.

 

Witnesses told Ynet that some of the wounded are bystanders and protestors who were beaten by Palestinian security forces seeking to clear the streets, primarily from the center of town which was declared a closed military zone.


Clashes in Ramallah (Photo: AP)

 

Meanwhile in Gaza four Palestinians were wounded in exchanges of fire between Fatah gunmen and Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas.

 

The Fatah gunmen opened fire at a Hamas security forces outpost in central Gaza, the gunbattle continues.

 

Trading accusations

Tensions between the warring factions escalated after an attempt on the life of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza on Thursday raised the already considerable tensions in Gaza.

 

Hamas have already explicitly blamed the Presidential Guard and President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement for the attack, or at least for the incitement they say may have led to the attempt on Haniyeh's life.

 

"Sooner or later we will even the score with the murderers, the people will even the score with them," said Jamal Nassar, a PA member of parliament on behalf of Hamas. Fatah adamantly deny the accusations.

 

One of Haniyeh's bodyguards was killed in the attempt, Haniyeh's son, an advisor to the PM and several other men from his entourage were wounded.

 

Hamas officials pointed their fingers at the Presidential Guard while Parliament Member Nassar singled out Fatah security officials like Muhammad Dahlan, saying that they are responsible for the attempt.

 

Palestinian lawmaker Saeb Erekat of Fatah warned Hamas against harming Dahlan. Erekat said that the speed in which Hamas determined that Dahlan is behind the attempt on PM Ismail Haniyeh's life raises the question why it finding the killers of the three children in Gaza this week wasn't equally fast.

 

Erekat said that responsibility for Thursday's events belongs to Hamas, who rallied thousands of gunmen to the scene. "We will not allow political interests to be achieved though brute force," said Erekat.

 

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