Photo: Al-Jazeera
One of the trapped reporters
Photo: Al-Jazeera

Journalists trapped in Gaza

Fatah, Hamas wage gunbattles to take over buildings in Gaza City, one which serves as post for international reporters and TV stations

Gunbattles raged in Gaza Wednesday afternoon as Fatah and Hamas gunmen tried to take over several buildings in Gaza City. One of the buildings serves as the headquarters for the international press corps in the Strip, resulting in dozens of journalists trapped inside, with Fatah operatives on the roof of the building and Hamas operatives trying to break down the doors.


Journalists in the building, which houses several television stations, are worried that they will come to harm. The telephone system collapsed and one of the journalists said that he and his colleagues were preparing for a prolonged stay in the building.


Mere hours after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal agreed, over the phone, to make every effort to stop the bloody infighting, the clashes between the two sides appear to be intensifying.


The Hamas special security forces formally announced Wednesday afternoon that it would join in the fighting. Until now, only Hamas' military wing – Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades – has borne the brunt of Hamas' latest offensive in the Gaza Strip.


Witnesses reported that Hamas fighters from the force attacked roadblocks and buildings under the control of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, confirming an announcement by the force that they intended to increase deployment and attack Fatah-affiliated assets.


Such deployment by the Hamas special forces could signal the beginning of bloodier altercations, particularly in Gaza City, but the group justified its decision by saying it was acting to "change the balance (of power) in the field."


Witnesses told Ynet that gunmen from both sides were shooting on anyone who appeared to be related to the opposing side, including innocent passers-by. "I saw Hamas fighters shooting at regular policemen who were not involved in the fight," said one witness.


"They shot at them because they were policemen in the Palestinian Authority," he said.


פרסום ראשון: 05.16.07, 19:46
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