Tensions continue to run high between Fatah and Hamas: A senior Palestinian Preventive Security Service officer, Mohammed Ghayeb, was killed Thursday evening along after Hamas gunmen fired an RPG at his house in northern Gaza.
Two of Ghayeb's subordinates were also killed in the attack, as well as a bystander. The officer's wife was critically injured, and several other people were wounded as well.
Ghayeb was on the phone to Palestine TV just moments before his death and appealed for help as his house came under attack. ''They are killers,'' he said of the Hamas gunmen. ''They are targeting the house, children are dying, they are bleeding. For God's sake, send an ambulance, we want an ambulance, somebody move.''
Riots in Gaza (Photo: AP)
Amongst Fatah ranks there is much outrage over the siege which has had a devastating affect, especially due to the fact that Hamas groups prevented anyone who wasn't loyal to the organization to approach the area.
Hamas says however that they were forced to raid Ghayeb's house after he and the other gunmen on the premises refused to surrender several gunmen who had taken refuge in the house and opened fire at Hamas security forces earlier in the day, killing one.
Hamas denied the firing of shells towards the house, saying however that they were forced to raid the house and use force as those fortified inside were endangering their men and refused to turn themselves in.
Haniyeh: Massacre must stop
Earlier Palestinian sources reported that Ayman al-Subuh, 26, a member of Hamas' special security apparatus, was killed in a fire exchange between Hamas and Fatah in Jabalya. Three other Hamas members were injured, one of them seriously.
Another Palestinian was killed in the gun battles in the northern Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian sources. According to the report, the fatality was a civilian who was caught in the crossfire.
Eye witnesses also reported that Hamas gunmen fired an RPG shell at the house of senior Fatah official, Sufian Abu-Zaida early Thursday evening. No injuries were reported.
Earlier, six people were injured by shots fired Thursday afternoon during the funeral of three Fatah officers who were killed Wednesday in a confrontation with Hamas in Khan Younis.
The six were apparently injured by shots that were fired into the air during the funeral. However, Fatah officials are claiming that Hamas members of the special security force of the Palestinian Authority shot at the people.
Fatah also accused Hamas of assassinating the three officers Wednesday. Hamas denied the allegations, saying that their organization has no connection to any of the events.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Thursday upon arriving in Gaza that everything must be done in order to calm the situation.
"Theses confrontations must stop, this massacre must come to an end. Let's love one another, let's resolve the conflict through dialogue, not weapons. The weapons must be pointed only at the Israeli occupation," he said.
Trading accusationsFatah claimed that Hamas members also fired at mourners at a different funeral in Dir al-Balah, where one of the casualties of Wednesday fire exchange was buried. Sources in Fatah said that their organization will not accept the truce between Hamas and Fatah drawn up by a number of the Palestinian organizations.
According to them, Hamas' recent alleged behavior is testimony to the fact that dialogue with Hamas is not possible.
Fatah accused Hamas of not taking part in the upper committee of the Palestinian organizations because of intentions to investigate the recent incendiary events. Fatah claims that such behavior proves Hamas is interested in escalating violence.
Fatah's Gaza Strip Spokesman Maher Makdad expressed his amazement at Hamas' behavior, and said, "It is interesting how the Hamas members managed to preserve the life of Gilad Shalit for six months, but didn't managing to maintain the security of the officers they kidnapped and executed Wednesday."
Within the Palestinian Authority, there is concern that tensions between Fatah and Hamas will spill over into the West Bank.
A Hamas official, the director-general for prisoner affairs, was released by Fatah in Ramallah Thursday morning. The gunmen released the man, but warned that continuing to target Fatah members in the Gaza Strip will lead to more kidnappings and targeting Hamas officials in the West Bank.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is slated to meet Thursday evening with representatives of the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip in order to contain the situation there. However, at this stage, no meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is scheduled.