Nine hurt in Hamas-Fatah clashes
The clashes erupted after Hamas gunmen arrived at the home of a top Fatah official and opened fire.india Updated: May 09, 2006 15:44 IST
Nine Palestinians were wounded early on Tuesday in renewed clashes between militants from the Hamas and Fatah movements in downtown Gaza City, witnesses and paramedics say.
The clashes erupted after Hamas gunmen arrived at the home of a top Fatah official and opened fire at activists inside, witnesses said.
The Fatah gunmen returned fire and nine were injured in the exchange, including five children, hospital officials said. At least one of the wounded was a Hamas gunmen, officials said.
According to Hamas officials, bodyguards working for Samir Mashrawi, a top Fatah leader in Gaza, kidnapped three members of the Hamas military wing earlier in the morning and the Hamas gunmen had arrived on the scene to free them. Fatah officials denied the accusations.
Tuesday's clashes follow yesterday's events, in which militants from Hamas and Fatah clashed in Gaza with assault rifles and shoulder-held missiles, killing three people, in the latest sign that the rivals could be heading towards a large-scale confrontation.
Bystanders gathered to watch today's clashes in downtown Gaza City, as mosque loudspeakers encouraged them to flee the scene.
An early morning meeting between both factions called for restraint, but tensions remained high as the sides accused each other of instigating the violence.
Friction has been rising since the Islamic militant group Hamas ended Fatah's four-decade control of Palestinian politics with a victory in January parliament elections.