Hamas gunmen. To resume clashes? (archives)
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Palestinians fear clashes in Gaza during Friday prayers
Fatah plans to hold mass prayers in squares and streets of Strip, despite threats made by Hamas. Gazans fear violent clashes may claim many lives
The Fatah movement has decided to hold mass prayers on Friday at the Gaza Strip's streets and squares in protest of Hamas' takeover of the mosques and the use of sermons for the movement's political needs.


The Hamas government banned the outdoor prayers, claiming that they were part of Fatah's attempt to restore anarchy in the Strip and destabilize the stable and quiet atmosphere in Gaza.


Hamas officials accused the Salam Fayyad government of incitement and promised to deal severely with any attempt to disrupt order and damage public property.


In order to convey a message to Fatah regarding its control of the street, Hamas on Thursday evening sent thousands of its reporters in a big show of power in order to indicate what may happen to those taking part in the prayers, which Hamas clerics have ruled are against Islamic law.


The Palestinian media – mainly that identified with Fatah – recently published letters sent by senior Hamas officials to heads of the movement's special security force, including tough orders on the ways to deal with the Fatah protest. Fatah supporters promised that they would not be deterred by Hamas' threats.


Sources in the Gaza Strip also expressed their fear that the attempts to prevent Fatah's demonstrations and prayers on Friday would turn into a violent conflict which would claim lives. Palestinian sources fear that Friday's events could be the deadliest since Hamas took over the Strip.


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