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Violence continued through the last days in Gaza and the west Bank

2007-02-06

More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in internal violence since Hamas won parliamentary elections last year and formed a Cabinet. In the wake of the election, Hamas established its own militia, as a counterweight to the security forces controlled by Abbas. Factional fighting echoed through the streets of Gaza and other locations as militia members of the ruling Palestinian Hamas party battled rivals from Fatah movement. The latest round of violence began with shootout at Gaza‘s Islamic University. Exactly a week earlier, 16 Palestinians died in factional violence. The fighting have left at least Seventeen people, including four children, died before the factions‘ leaders announced a cease-fire agreement. Gazans huddled in their homes to escape the crossfire, which killed a total of 24 people and wounded 245 since fighting erupted few days ago.
U.S., European and Israeli officials have cut off support for the Palestinian government since Hamas won control of the Palestinian parliament from Fatah in elections a year ago. A recurring sticking point in negotiations between the two groups is Hamas‘ refusal to recognize Israel‘s right to exist. Western nations have frozen funds for the Palestinian territories until this prerequisite is met. Another bone of contention is how the competing security forces should divide responsibilities.
The agreement called for both sides to withdraw their armed militants from the street, except for Palestinian police, and stop all clashes, as well as refrain from making inflammatory comments. Leaders of the factions also agreed to exchange kidnapped prisoners and participate in an urgent face-to-face meeting for national dialogue. The truce deal, the ninth so far was announced after a meeting at the Egyptian Embassy. Periodic clashes between the rival factions have persisted for months, with several cease-fires breaking down. Previous rounds of coalition talks have ended in failure and often led to new waves of bloodshed.
The new clashes began after Hamas‘ executive forces attacked a convoy from the Palestinian presidential guard that was carrying a shipment of guns and confiscated all of the weapons. Fatah spokesman said the convoy, which was attacked in central Gaza, was carrying generators and trailer homes. Fatah also claimed to have detained six Iranian military officers, including a colonel and four men it called "chemical experts." Hamas denied the claims, for which there was no independent confirmation Friday.
Talks aimed at forming a power-sharing government were suspended after the latest outbreak of violence, which began Thursday when a Hamas operative was killed by a bomb in the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza.
Citizens all over Gaza and the West Bank went on anger against the leaders of both parties accusing them of lacking leadership and responsibility due to their inability to stop the meaningless fighting.
ATF and Agencies


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