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Hamas gunmen Photo: AP
Hamas gunmen Photo: AP
 
 

Baby boy killed in Gaza cross-fire

At least a dozen dead, with some 30 wounded, as result of infighting; representatives meet with Palestinian interior minister, agree to end conflict, but shooting continues

Ali Waked
Latest Update: 01.26.07, 21:48 / Israel News

A two year old baby boy was killed in the cross-fire of Hamas and Fatah bullets near Khan Younis late Friday evening.  Thus far, over a dozen of people have died as a result of Palestinian infighting in the past 24 hours. 

 

Some 30 people have been wounded as a result of the clashes, several of them severely; 24 people have been kidnapped.

 

Representatives from the two sides met with the Palestinian Interior Minister Said Siyam Friday evening and agreed to withdraw gunmen from the streets, release captives from both sides and set up an investigation committee to examine the events of recent days.

 

Despite the understandings, exchanges of fire continued in a number of locations in Gaza, particularly in the north, and several people have already died in the post-ceasefire shootings.  Several RPGs were launched Friday night, including one at the home of Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar of Hamas.

  

Three Fatah operatives, among them senior operative Mansur Shalail, whose northern Gaza home was under Hamas siege for hours on Friday, were killed Friday night, after Hamas gunmen managed to infiltrate the home, Palestinian sources said.

 

Fatah did not formally confirm the report of his death.

 

Shalail's home had been a source of heavy infighting over the past 24 hours.  Witnesses said Fatah-affiliated security forces were seen moving armored vehicles closer to the scene.  The vehicles have not been used by the Palestinian Authority for several years.

 

The witnesses further reported that Hamas' special security forces, who surrounded the home, were exchanging fire with Fatah forces in the area and had called for back-up.

 

Two Palestinians, one of them only 16 years old, were killed while participating in a protest near the home earlier on Friday. Fatah officials reported at the time that the gunmen fired at the house and hurled grenades.

 

Hamas operatives claimed that a sniper shot had been fired from the home, killing one of their own, on Friday afternoon.  A Hamas man in a loudspeaker van - who had been calling local residents to join a rally the group planned for later in the day - had indeed been shot in the area.

  

In response to the attack on the Fatah-affiliated house, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades - Fatah's military wing - in the West Bank threatened to execute nine Hamas operatives, whom they kidnapped from a village near Nablus.

 

The captives had been participating in a training exercise for the Hamas government's special security force at the time.

 

Friday evening, a Hamas operative was killed in exchanges of fire in northern Gaza.  An hour prior, two Fatah members, belonging to the Preventative Security Forces, were killed near their headquarters in Gaza by Hamas gunmen.

 

On Thursday night, two Palestinians – one operative from Hamas and one from Fatah - were killed in ongoing exchanges of fire between the two groups. An additional Hamas security official, injured earlier during one such exchange in Beit Lahiya, died of his wounds Friday afternoon.

 

The Associated Press contributed to the report

 

First Published: 01.26.07, 17:24

 

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