Photo: AFP
Hamas rally in Gaza
Photo: AFP

Officer loyal to Abbas killed after election call

Group of masked gunmen, apparently affiliated with Hamas, attacks presidential guard training camp in Gaza Sunday. Gunmen storm camp, set fire to tents and wound several guards stationed inside

Masked gunmen killed an officer of an elite force loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday in a dawn raid on a Gaza training camp, a day after Abbas called for new elections amid growing tensions with Hamas.


Abu Ubaida, a spokesman for Hamas' armed wing, denied the group had been involved in the attack, the first of its kind against the US-backed 3,500-strong force, saying: "This is a wrong and irresponsible accusation."


Hamas had accused Abbas of launching a coup after he announced a plan for early presidential and parliamentary elections in an attempt to break a political deadlock and have crippling international sanctions lifted.


Dozens of masked gunmen in uniforms similar to those worn by Hamas gunmen shot and wounded a guard at the entrance to the camp in Gaza City and then fired and killed him at close range, a senior officer from the presidential guard told Reuters.


The gunmen then stormed the camp and set fire to dozens of tents and traded gunfire with several presidential guards stationed inside, wounding at least five of them, the officer and a Palestinian security source said.


The infiltrators also threw mortar bombs and fired a rocket-propelled grenade at an electrical transformer, plunging the camp into darkness. Dozens of members of Abbas' force soon rushed inside the camp and the gunmen fled, he said.


פרסום ראשון: 12.17.06, 07:19
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