Hamas gunmen in Gaza
Photo: Reuters

Gaza: Gun battles in hours before unity agreement announced

Reports of kidnappings, exchanges of fire between Hamas, Fatah as leaders prepare to announce formation of unity government

A few short hours before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Islamail Haniyeh are expected to present their agreement over the formation of a unity government to the Palestinian parliament, northern Gaza is alight with clashes between Hamas and Fatah.


Ten Palestinians, including a father and his two children, were wounded in the crossfire on Wednesday as masked gunmen from the rival factions battled in the streets of the town of Beit Lahiya. Three of those wounded are in serious condition and one is critical.


According to Palestinian security forces and Fatah officials Hamas had kidnapped a Fatah member and when his friends came to respond Hamas gunmen opened fire at them, hitting the civilian bystanders.


Immediately following the incident armed cells spread out through the town and set up roadblocks, stopping every car seeking to pass. Current reports put the total of kidnapped Palestinians at eight, four from Fatah and four from Hamas.


On Tuesday evening Ail Haddad, a senior commander of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, was killed in an exchange of fire with Fatah members in Gaza. Nine additional Palestinians were wounded in the exchanges of fire that followed, one of them sustaining critical wounds.


In Gaza officials hope that the recent events will not mar the ongoing negotiations over the unity government.




פרסום ראשון: 03.14.07, 22:43
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