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Monday, March 20, 2006

Palestinian Civil War Watch - Gunmen take over Gaza's power plant

'Gunmen' from Mahmud Abbas' Abu Mazen's Fatah faction took over the sole power plant in Gaza this morning shortly after the new Hamas 'government' was submitted to Abu Mazen.

A group of 25 Palestinian gunmen infiltrated Gaza's power plant on Monday, exchanging fire with security forces and wounding at least two people, officials said.

Some of the gunmen, affiliated with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party, were recently admitted to the Palestinian security forces and have not received their salaries. Others are jobless and demanded employment.

The gunmen managed to take over a part of the power plant, the main provider of Gaza's electricity. Palestinian security forces had called in more forces to help remove the gunmen, officials said. Two Palestinian security officials were wounded in the fighting, hospital officials said. [HaAretz is now reporting that the 'gunmen' left the power plant a short while later. CiJ].

Hours earlier, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haniyeh on Sunday night presented the new Hamas cabinet, which does not include factions other than Hamas, to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.


Abbas said after the meeting that he was planning to present the new cabinet to the PLO executive committee for approval within the next 48 hours.

"I received the names," he said. "Within 24 or 48 hours we will hold a meeting of the PLO executive committee to brief its members on the latest developments. Later, we will convene the parliament for a vote of confidence in the cabinet. May God help us; this is not an easy task and there are many difficulties."

Abbas declined to comment on the political program of the Hamas cabinet, saying the issue would be discussed by the PLO leaders soon.


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