Photo: AFP
Gunmen in Gaza
Photo: AFP
Photo: AP
Violent strike
Photo: AP

Palestinian tensions flare again; 2 killed

Violence in PA continues despite prime minister's appeal for end to internal fighting. Two people killed, 14 others wounded in clashes between Hamas, Fatah members. President Abbas said to be mulling setting up emergency government

Gunbattles erupted Monday night between Fatah gunmen and Hamas militiamen in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, killing two people and wounding 14 others a day after a deadly explosion of internal violence paralyzed the Gaza Strip.


A top aide to President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah said Abbas was seriously considering the possibility of forming an emergency government, an administration of technocrats or

calling early elections to end the crisis with Hamas.


"Decisions should be taken in a short period of time," the aide, Nabil Amr, said in the West Bank city of Ramallah.


A protest by some 5,000 Abbas supporters in Rafah refugee camp calling for the disbanding of a Hamas-led police force and the resignation of Interior Minister Saeed Seyam turned violent with exchanges of fire between gunmen and the Hamas-led force.


Five demonstrators were wounded, including one gunman who was in critical condition. A policeman was also wounded and was said to be in critical conditions as shots and loud explosions from hand grenades rang out, witnesses and medics said.


'Calm must be restored'

Earlier, gunfire erupted inside the main Shifa hospital between Hamas-led police and the family of a dead fighter loyal to Fatah. At least three people were wounded in the clash.


Abbas supporters stoned the home of a minister in the Hamas-led government, the latest wave of pro-Fatah protests over unpaid wages and stalled unity government talks.


Violence also flared in the occupied West Bank, where Fatah gunmen shot dead a waiter who refused to close his Jericho restaurant to abide by a strike protesting against the recent violence in Gaza, witnesses and medics said.


In Nablus, unidentified gunmen shot and wounded one of Deputy Prime Minister Naser al-Shaer's bodyguards. Shaer, a Hamas leader, was not in the area at the time.


"These actions must stop," Haniyeh said at the start of a cabinet meeting in Gaza. "Calm must be restored."


Military coup?

 Independent lawmaker Hassan Khreisheh accused both sides of orchestrating what he called "official lawlessness", and warned: "This is unprecedented even during military coups."


Before dawn on Monday, paramilitary troops controlled by Abbas took up positions at key intersections across Gaza and Hamas pulled its forces back as part of a deal brokered by Egyptian mediators to stem the internal fighting.


Haniyeh said the situation in Gaza had improved. But tensions rose as thousands of pro-Fatah mourners poured into the streets, demanding revenge.


פרסום ראשון: 10.02.06, 19:51
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