Photo: AP
Gaza on fire
Photo: AP
Photo: AP
Gunmen in Gaza
Photo: AP
Photo: AFP
Sufian Abu Zaydeh following his release
Photo: AFP

Day of battle in Gaza: 6 killed, 20 injured

Palestinian sources say man killed, several others injured in exchanges of fire between Palestinian police loyal to Hamas and Fatah fighters at Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital; later two Fatah members shot dead during exchanges of fire, lifeless bodies of two more abducted Fatah members found; failed attempt at Gaza governor's life

Death toll in Gaza continues to rise: Six Palestinians, including two Hamas members and four affiliated with Fatah – lost their lives Tuesday in the civil war developing in the Palestinian Authority.


Clashes between rival Palestinian factions in Gaza resumed early Tuesday after a relatively quiet night, with Palestinian sources saying a man was killed and at least 11 others were injured in exchanges of fire that erupted between Palestinian police loyal to Hamas and Fatah fighters.


Witnesses said the gun battle occurred at the entrance and inside the compound of the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, but could not say how the fighting had broken out.


It was further reported that two Fatah security officers were killed and five other Palestinians were wounded during Hamas-Fatah gun battles in the city. The death of another Hamas member, a member of the special security force shot during clashes with Fatah, was determined later in the day. At least 20 people were wounded during the exchanges of fire in the Strip.


In the afternoon Palestinian sources said the lifeless bodies of two Fatah men who were kidnapped earlier in the day by Hamas gunmen were found in Gaza city. The two men belonged to the Palestinian Intelligence Forces.


Palestinian sources in Gaza also reported of a failed assassination attempt against Governor Ismail Abu Shammala, who is affiliated with Fatah. According to the report gunmen opened fire at the governor’s vehicle.


The governor’s associates said Hamas forces were behind the attack.

Victim of Gaza infighting (Photo: AFP)


Tensions in the Strip reached a new high Sunday night as gunmen kidnapped former Palestinian cabinet minister Sufian Abu Zaydeh and later released him only after Hamas members were abducted in retaliation.


“I wasn’t worried about myself. I was worried about the consequences of this act, which crossed all lines,” Abu Zaydeh told Ynet following his release.


The kidnapping apparently came in response to the kidnapping of Imad Deeb, one of Hamas’ military arm in commanders in the northern Gaza Strip.


Abbas, Haniyeh to meet

Parallel to the kidnapping, fire clashes continued in the Gaza Strip. Exchanges of fire erupted between Fatah and Hamas gunmen close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' quarters in Gaza, and in Jabaliya, in the north of the Gaza Strip.


Fatah activist Ahmad Ziyada was killed in fire clashes in Jabaliya and four others were wounded. In total, some 15 people were wounded Monday, and eight people have been taken captive.


Abbas is expected to meet Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh Monday in yet another bid to ease tensions in Gaza; last week the Palestinian president announced that the elections would be moved up following the failed talks on the establishment of a unity government, but did not set a specific date.


Haniyeh, for his part, said Hamas would not participate in early elections.


"We confirm that the Palestinian government refuses the invitation to early elections because it is unconstitutional and could cause tension among Palestinians," he said in his first public comments on the matter.


Reuters contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 12.19.06, 07:34
 new comment
This will delete your current comment