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Monday, October 02, 2006

Palestinian Civil War Watch: Ten killed, over 150 wounded in Hamas-Fatah clashes

The 'Palestinians' spent the eve of Yom Kippur and Yom Kippur doing what they do best. Thank God, this time, they did it to themselves rather than to the Jews.

Since Sunday, ten 'Palestinians' have been killed and more than 150 wounded in fighting between Hamas and Fatah supporters in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The violence followed allegations by Hamas leaders that 'moderate' PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen and his Fatah party were planning a coup against the Hamas-led 'government.' Most of the violence was in Gaza, where nine people were killed, but today it spilled over into Judea and Samaria. One 'Palestinian' was killed today in Jericho, and six others were wouned in gun battles in Shchem (Nablus). In addition, several PA 'institutions' and Hamas-run organizations were set on fire, including the offices of the PA Prime Minister in Ramallah.

The Jerusalem Post has an account of the fighting in Gaza:
The violence began on Sunday morning, when several hundred Fatah-affiliated policemen took to the streets in the Gaza Strip to protest unpaid salaries for the third consecutive day. The policemen stormed the Bank of Palestine branch in Gaza City and set it on fire.

Ignoring warnings by Hamas's Interior Minister, Said Siam, that he would use force to disperse the protesters, the policemen, backed by scores of Fatah gunmen, went on a shooting spree in the streets and blocked main highways.

As the protests intensified, Siam ordered the 3,000-strong "back-up" force of the Interior Ministry to quell the protests, claiming that the demonstrations were politically motivated with the aim of undermining the Hamas-led government.

In scenes reminiscent of the Lebanese civil war in the 70's and 80's, the confrontation quickly turned into street gun battles, with both sides using automatic rifles, pistols and hand-propelled grenades. At least three of the casualties were identified as innocent passersby, including 15-year-old Hassan Abu al-Hatel.

The clashes subsided by nightfall as the rival parties heeded calls by Egyptian security mediators to declare a cease-fire. Abbas and PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh also appealed for calm and promised to launch an investigation into the armed clashes.

At the request of Abbas and the Egyptians, Hamas agreed to withdraw its "back-up" force from the streets and public squares - a move that contributed to easing tensions between the two sides. On Monday the situation in the Gaza Strip remained very tense, but no major incidents were reported.

Khaled Abu Hilal, spokesman for the PA Interior Ministry, said his ministry was determined to crush "rebellious" elements in the PA security forces. "We will chase them wherever they are," he vowed, claiming that "outside forces" were responsible for the deterioration.

Hamas leaders repeated charges that the mutiny in the PA security forces was part of a plot designed to bring down the Hamas-led government. "We strongly condemn the acts of sabotage perpetrated by a tiny minority of Palestinian policemen," said a statement issued by the Hamas leadership in Gaza City. "These thugs are using the issue of unpaid salaries as a cover for staging a coup against the legitimate government. We will not remain idle in the face of these suspicious and well-planned attempts."
But just give them a state reichlet and all the world's problems will be solved....


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