Two members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Fatah's military wing, were killed in an exchange of fire with Hamas gunmen in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday afternoon.
Shortly after, Fatah gunmen opened fire at Hamas operatives in retaliation, killing two group members.
The two were Fatah men identified as Baheh Abu Jarad, a senior member of the Brigades, and his bodyguard, Tawfiq al-Todi.
Palestinian sources said the gun battle began nearby Abu Jarad’s home; the senior Fatah member was shot in the head and heart, and died of his wounds shortly after at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza.
A Fatah official claimed that Hamas gunmen fired several RPG missiles at Abu Jarad and his men during the shootout.
Tensions between the two factions have soared in recent days due to the deployment of Palestinian Security officials to Gaza.
The security officials, who are linked to Fatah, arrived in Gaza without the agreement of other organizations in the Strip, particularly Hamas.
Sunday’s incident, which fueled the fire further between the two rival factions, occurred ironically after an agreement by both sides over the weekend regarding the withdrawal of forces, and the continuation of negotiations for the completion of a security plan.