Sunday, January 28, 2007

Palestinian Civil War Watch - 10

No slack Saturday. The bodies pile up.

Deadly battles between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have continued in the Gaza Strip, leaving at least five more dead.

Saturday's deaths raise the toll since Thursday night to at least 22.

However, despite tension, the funerals for those killed on the previous day passed off peacefully on Saturday.

Clashes erupted in Gaza after weeks of relative calm and renewed efforts to form a national unity government. Both sides say they have suspended talks.

Those killed on Saturday included a boy of 11 or 12 who was hit during a shootout late at night between the two factions in the northern Gaza Strip.

Earlier at least one person died in a gun battle near Gaza's Islamic University, while another died in a car explosion - rumoured to be caused when explosives being carried in the vehicle exploded.

Shops were shut up and the streets of Gaza City were almost empty on Saturday as people hid inside from the gangs of gunmen stalking the streets.

Members of Hamas and Fatah have fired mortars and grenades at each other and mounted tit-for-tat kidnappings.
This is down a bit from Friday when 13 died. Friday sermons at the mosque seem to be very inflamatory on most Fridays.

The IHT has an even larger body count.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip: Gunmen from the rival Hamas and Fatah movements battled in Gaza City for a third straight day, firing mortars and grenades in clashes that killed seven people in the increasingly bloody power struggle over the Palestinian government.

Saturday's deaths brought to 25 the number of Palestinians killed since late Thursday, with at least 68 people wounded and efforts to forge a coalition government at a standstill.

The latest fighting, which began late Thursday after a Hamas activist was killed in a bombing, has been among the deadliest in nearly two months of clashes.
Opinions in Gaza show that the situation is bleak and getting bleaker.
A poll conducted amongst Gaza Arabs last month shows that over fifty percent believe that the current violence marks the beginning of a civil war. Sixty-six percent said that they are pessimistic about the situation, and eighty-seven percent said that they feel unsafe. The poll was conducted by an-Najah university in Shechem, with five hundred Gaza Arabs participating, along with eight hundred and sixty Arabs from Judea and the Shomron.
Update: 28 Jan '07 0802z

Fighting rages on.
GAZA CITY (AP) -- Gunmen from the rival Hamas and Fatah movements battled each other in Gaza Sunday, continuing an increasingly bloody power struggle over the Palestinian government that left the coastal strip littered with dead over the weekend, while civilians cowered in their homes.

An explosion early in the morning rocked the home of a bodyguard to Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan, but the man was not in the building and no casualties were reported. At least eight people were wounded in exchanges of fire between the sides overnight, Palestinian security officials said.
The longer this goes on the harder it will be to stop. Fortunately.

It looks like some one has it in for Palestinian President Abbas.
Ronny Shaked Published: 01.28.07, 08:46

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas escaped an assassination attempt last week. Four large explosive devices were uncovered by Abbas' security officers on the road leading from the Erez crossing to Gaza, as the Palestinian president left Ramallah and was about to travel on that route.

Upon discovering the devices, Abbas' security officers instructed him to return to Ramallah. The explosive devices were detonated by sappers of the Presidential Guard.

The assassination attempt took place while the Palestinian president was on his way to meet Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to discuss the establishment of a national unity government.
You know it looks like some one is not negotiating in good faith. That is a surprise. Normally the Palestinians are such honorable men.

The UN has the proper line.
The UN's Middle East envoy Alvaro de Soto called on all the factions "to cease clashes and comply with international humanitarian law by refraining from acts which endanger civilians".

The violence also showed signs of spreading to the West Bank, where Palestinian police clashed with about 200 Hamas supporters on Saturday.
Everything the Palestinians do, from suicide bombs, to rockets shot into Israel, to using human shields is predicated on endangering and harming civilians. Why should they stop now?

Update: 28 Jan '07 1803z

Calm has been restored to Gaza.
A relative halt to the inter-factional bloodshed in Gaza was brought about through mediation by an Egyptian security delegation between various Palestinian groups. However, kidnappings continue in the West Bank and the tense ceasefire appears close to a breakdown.

Funeral processions are taking place in Gaza, where four more people were killed Sunday morning during the fourth day of Hamas and Fatah infighting. Since Thursday night, 24 people have died, including a two year old boy caught in the crossfire.

Violence continued in the West Bank, with riots in Nablus Sunday afternoon. Members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades – Fatah's military wing – kidnapped at least ten Hamas operatives, including senior municipality officials.
Violence resumes.
GAZA, Jan 28 (KUNA) -- Unknown gunmen shot dead on Sunday a Palestinian Hamas activist in the city of Khan Yonis south of Gaza.

Hamas Radio, Al-Aqsa, in Gaza said "gunmen opened fire toward Nasser Sharab, 22, a member of the Executive Force of the Interior Ministry in one of the streets in Khan Yonis." According to the Al-Aqsa radio, Hamas blames members of Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah military wing, for the shooting, and directly put blame on Palestinian legislative member Mohammad Dahlan for the incident.
Cross Posted at Classical Values

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