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Six dead in Gaza City clash

Dozens of Hamas gunmen stormed the house of a senior security chief loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas, killing at least six of his bodyguards.

world Updated: May 16, 2007 11:50 IST

Dozens of Hamas gunmen stormed the house of a senior security chief loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas early on Wednesday, killing at least six of his bodyguards, Fatah spokesman Abdel Kahim Awad said.

At least 10 people were also wounded as Hamas men fired missiles and rocket-propelled grenades at the Gaza City house of Rashid Abu-Shbak, the director of Internal Security, a position that Hamas said trespasses on the authority of the Hamas-appointed interior minister.

Abu-Shbak was not inside the house when Hamas tried to storm it and was said to be in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Witnesses said his bodyguards managed to secure safe departure for his wife and children before the rocket-propelled grenades hit the villa.

Meanwhile, a seventh member of Abbas' Fatah-dominated forces was killed in an exchange of fire in the Tal al-Hawa area, which has seen skirmishes since Tuesday night, bringing the total death toll since Hamas-Fatah renewed their clashes on Sunday to at least 27.

The latest clashes came despite a new truce announced overnight by Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, a Hamas member, at an Egyptian-brokered meeting between the rival groups.

The four days of fighting has been the worst since the two groups formed a unity government in March with the main aim of ending factional violence.