11 killed as Hamas-Fatah violence escalates

Updated on May 15, 2007 07:58 PM IST
Hamas militants opened fire on a jeep carrying officers of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah-dominated National Security service in Gaza City on Tuesday, killing at least eight members of the force, witnesses said.
HT Image
HT Image
IANS | By, Gaza

Hamas militants opened fire on a jeep carrying officers of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah-dominated National Security service in Gaza City on Tuesday, killing at least eight members of the force, witnesses said.

It was the worst single attack since deadly clashes between Hamas and Fatah resurfaced over the weekend for the first time since the rival groups formed a unity government two months ago with the main aim of ending Palestinian infighting.

In total, at least 11 Palestinians were killed on Tuesday in escalating violence in Gaza, bringing the death toll since the clashes erupted Sunday to at least 21.

The clashes have shattered the appearance of a conciliation between the two groups and threatened the future of the fragile unity government, which is already suffering from a continuing international boycott because of its platform's failure to meet international conditions for normal relations, including recognition of Israel and a renunciation of violence.

According to witnesses, Hamas militants shelled the National Security jeep, killing its eight occupants, as it was on its way from a checkpoint on the beach road in western Gaza City to a base at the Karni border crossing with Israel, to the east.

The gunmen had been lying in an ambush near the Karni crossing, they said.

At the same time, Hamas militants also fired mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades at the Karni crossing and the nearby National Security base, drawing fire from soldiers on the Israeli side of the crossing in which at least one other Palestinian was killed.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said the soldiers opened fire when they saw two armed men running toward them and hit one. Witnesses said both were National Security officers who ran toward the Israeli side to escape the Hamas shelling.

The military spokeswoman said Israel closed the crossing as a result of the internal Palestinian fighting.

Elsewhere in Gaza City, gunmen later also ambushed another vehicle, of the Preventive Security force, killing Captain Yosef Mutair and injuring three other people.

The attack near Karni came hours after members of Abbas' presidential guard shot dead a Hamas commander, Ibraheem Menia, Tuesday morning when he refused to stop at a roadblock set up by them in eastern Gaza City.

Hamas' military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, had vowed to avenge his death.

"We will deal with Menia's murderers in the same way we deal with the Israeli occupation's spies," it said in a statement.

Meanwhile, some 450 armed Fatah gunmen crossed into Gaza at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

The latest clashes have already sparked the resignation of one member of the unity cabinet, Interior Minister Hani al-Qawasmi, an independent but considered close to Hamas who said Tuesday he had no interest in the portfolio if Palestinian President Mahmoud and his Fatah security advisors did not give him free reign to deal with security.

Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, of Hamas, has taken on the interior ministry in his stead.

Appointing an independent to the portfolio was a cornerstone of the February 8 Mecca agreement that paved the way for the formation of the Hamas-Fatah unity government in March.

Finding a candidate accepted by both sides had been a main obstacle to reaching the agreement and al-Qawasmi's resignation could therefore lead a renewed dispute over who should hold the portfolio, which is crucial because it involves control over some security forces, while others are headed by the president.

The Mecca agreement was reached under Saudi-Arabian mediation after a months-long power struggle that evolved after Hamas beat Fatah in January 2005 legislative elections.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Even before Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry formally announced its decision to allow the Yuan Wang 5’s visit on August 13, there was a feeling in New Delhi that Colombo would not be able to stand up to the pressure from Beijing, the people said. (AFP Photo)

    China won’t be allowed to use Hambantota for ‘military purposes’: Wickremesinghe

    Against the backdrop of growing concerns in India over a Chinese surveillance vessel's visit to Hambantota port, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe has said China will not be allowed to use the facility for “military purposes”. Both India and the US had expressed concerns about the call by the vessel, used by the People's Liberation Army to track satellites and ballistic missiles.

  • Workers wave China's and Sri Lanka's national flags upon the arrival of China's research and survey vessel, the Yuan Wang 5 at Hambantota port on Tuesday.

    China warns ‘third parties’ as vessel docks in Sri Lanka amid India's concerns

    Despite concerns from India and the US about its alleged spying activities, Chinese vessel Yuan Wang 5 bristling with antennas and communication gear docked at Sri Lanka's Chinese-run port of Hambantota on Tuesday. Responding to the latest development, China, without mentioning India or the US, said its scientific research activities are in accordance with international law and should not be interfered with by "third parties”.

  • A German Eurofighter is ready for takeoff at Neuburg Air Base in Neuburg An Der Donau, Germany, Monday Aug. 15, 2022. A group of German air force fighter jets neared Singapore on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, in a marathon bid to fly them some 12,800 kilometers (8,000 miles) from their home base to Southeast Asia in just 24 hours. 

    German fighter jets in Indo-Pacific for first time amid tension with China

    Thirteen German military aircraft were on their way to Australia on Tuesday as Germany looks to strengthen its presence in the Indo-Pacific region amid growing tensions with China. The six Eurofighters and seven military transport aircraft were due to land in Singapore on Tuesday before travelling on to Australia under the mission dubbed Rapid Pacific 2022.

  • Although Beijing ended its draconian "one-child rule" in 2016 and last year allowed couples to have three children, birth rates have slipped over the past five years. (Photo by Noel Celis/AFP)

    China unveils new perks aimed at boosting slowing birth rate

    The policy guidelines issued by the National Health Commission Tuesday urge both the central and provincial governments to increase spending on reproductive health and improve childcare services nationwide.

  • Chinese Satellite and ICBM tracker Wang Yuan 5 docked at Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka this morning.

    Ex-SL Navy chief lobbied for Chinese spy ship docking at Hambantota Port

    The Chinese satellite and intercontinental ballistic missile tracker strategic support ship Yuan Wang 5 under the guise of Marine Scientific Research Vessel was allowed by the Sri Lankan government to dock at Hambantota Port, leased to Beijing for 99 years, at 4.00 am this morning. This ship will be at the Chinese port till August 21.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now