Photo: AP
Clashes in Gaza
Photo: AP
Photo: AP
Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar
Photo: AP
Gaza: Al-Zahar's bodyguard kidnapped; civilian killed
Violence in PA continues to surge: Fire exchanges between Hamas loyalists, relatives of two Fatah members who were killed this week result in death of bystander, abduction of foreign minister's bodyguard
The bodyguard of Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar was kidnapped Thursday night, and a Palestinian civilian was killed in fire exchanges in the Gaza City neighborhood of Sabra.


Sources in the Strip believe that the gunbattle was between Hamas loyalists and relatives of two Fatah members who were killed Tuesday.


Thursday's is not the first abduction to take place since the violent clashes between Hamas and Fatah erupted several weeks ago. Former Minister Sufian Abu Zaydeh, a senior Fatah official, was kidnapped in Jabalya at the beginning of the week and released about an hour and-a-half later.


Earlier Thursday sources in the Palestinian Authority estimated that the ceasefire between Fatah and Hamas is in danger of collapsing, in light of the escalating political tensions between the factions.


Hamas announced a series of steps against Fatah, including a boycott of meetings held by the Supreme Committee, a body which includes representatives from all the Palestinian factions.


The committee was set to discuss ways to establish the internal truce in the PA, as well as the national dialogue, ahead of a renewal of negotiations on a unity government.


Hamas members were outraged by President Mahmoud Abbas' refusal to authorize a series of appointments approved by the Palestinian government which Abbas claimed were illegal.


Hamas was also angered by a deal reached between Abbas, the Egyptians, and the European monitors at the Rafah crossing, stipulating that Hamas leaders and ministers of the PA government will be banned from transferring cash through the crossing into Gaza.


Head of Hamas' politburo Khaled Mashaal said during a visit to Qatar that the current Palestinian government was forced to deal with a "foreign plot," but that it plans to carry on with the resistance.


"Hamas is facing a foreign plot aimed at bringing the movement down. The Palestinians reserve the right to resist," Mashaal stated.


Mashaal also called on the Palestinian factions to unite in their struggle against Israel: "I can promise you that we will leave the internal conflict behind us, strengthen our national unity, God willing, and march towards the confrontation with the Zionist enemy. Soon Israel will be trampled under the feet of the resistance, with God's help."


פרסום ראשון: 12.22.06, 00:30
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