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Fatah suspends participation in coalition

Clashes between the two Palestinian factions force the Fatah to suspend its participation in the coalition government with Hamas.

world Updated: Jun 13, 2007 11:20 IST

Fatah has decided to suspend its participation in the coalition government with Hamas, as clashes between the two Palestinian factions killed at least 43 in the worst-ever wave of infighting.

Chief of emergency in the Palestinian health ministry Mo'aweya Hassanein said at least 21 Palestinians were killed and 60 wounded on Tuesday night during fierce gun battles in east of Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza Strip.

Hassanein said since the eruption of clashes between rival Fatah and Hamas movements' militants, 22 Palestinians were killed and 30 wounded all over the Gaza Strip, adding that the death toll has now reached 43.

Fierce clashes flared near a compound belonging to the Palestinian national security forces east of the refugee camp of Jabalia in northern Gaza Strip when the Hamas militants occupied the compound.

Following the Hamas raid, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas chaired an emergency meeting of Fatah movement's central committee in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The meeting, which lasted for three hours, decided to suspend the participation of its ministers in the unity government until the fighting ends. "...It (Fatah) is suspending its participation in the government until infighting in the Gaza Strip stops," a press statement said.

The central committee called on its members in the Palestinian territories to "foil a coup attempt carried out by a violent group of Hamas militants against the Palestinian Authority and its security apparatuses".

Leaders of rival Fatah and Islamic Hamas movements on February 8 in Saudi Arabian holy town of Mecca had reached an agreement to form a national unity government.

The Palestinian national unity government was shared between Fatah, Hamas, and independents loyal to the two movements and also members in other factions represented in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).

According to Mecca agreement, Hamas got 12 portfolios plus the Prime Minister post, Fatah got six portfolios and five independents, three chosen by Hamas and two by Fatah, and four portfolios were given to other factions.

The national unity government was formed in the first week of March, and Prime Minister Ismail Haneya headed it.

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