The Izz el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, stormed the home of a top Fatah official early Wednesday in Gaza City, killing at least five bodyguards, Palestinians security officials said.
Hamas gunmen fired mortars at the house of Fatah security chief Rashid Abu Shbak before storming it and planting pipe bombs inside, the officials said. The gunmen killed five of Abu Shabk's bodyguards, a member of President Mahmoud Abbas' presidential guard, and another Fatah security official.
Abu Shbak is loyal to Muhammad Dahlan, and is accused by Hamas of orchestrating the resignation of Palestinian Interior Minister Hani Al Qawasmi.
The attack comes after a brutal day of factional fighting between Hamas and Fatah rivals in Gaza that killed 16 people, confining terrified residents to their homes.
The renewed clashes Wednesday included mortars fired at the presidential compound of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah. No one was wounded in this attack.
Later Wednesday morning, Fatah and Hamas gunmen exchanged heavy fire near the Sarayia compound, which houses the Palestinian police headquarters, in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday morning. The home and office of Abbas are not far from the scene of the gun battle.
In the heaviest fighting, witnesses reported seeing heavy smoke rising from the home of Abu Shbak.
He and his family were not home at the time of the attack, but at least a dozen of his bodyguards occupied the house. Fatah security officials said at least one of them, Abdullah Saadat, was executed by the gunmen after being wounded.
Preventive security forces, which Abu Shbak used to head, were sent in for reinforcement.
Abdel Hakim Awad, a Fatah spokesman, angrily accused Hamas' leadership of the attack on Abu Shbak's house.
"All (Hamas) are killers from top to bottom, all are implicated," he said. "What is happening is killing in cold blood, and this is criminal."
Awad blamed Hamas for the renewal of violence, and accused the Islamist group of "wanting to turn Gaza into a new Somalia or Darfur".
He said Abu Shbak's home was destroyed and burned, and his guards executed.
Hamas sources said that the attack was in response to the killing of Ibrahim Maniya, commander of Hamas' military wing in a Gaza neighborhood.
AP contributed to this report