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May 17, 2006

Hamas-Fatah Power Struggle Intensifies

Gee, I sure hope this doesn't erupt in widespread violence or anything:

- The Palestinians' defiant Hamas-led government sent a new militant force into the streets of Gaza on Wednesday, disregarding President Mahmoud Abbas' order banning the creation of the security body and raising the stakes in their deepening power struggle.

Hamas appeared to have been propelled into action by mysterious drive-by shootings that killed two of its militants in the Gaza Strip hours earlier. These and other recent cases of deadly infighting have threatened to plunge the Palestinian territories into bloody chaos.

Wow, Hamas was "propelled" into taking a provocative action. The media spins for them even when they're up against fellow thugs Fatah.


The Hamas-led government and Abbas have been locked in a power struggle since the Islamic militant group ousted Abbas' long-ruling Fatah party in January parliamentary elections.

Abbas, who directly controls three security forces, appointed an ally as head of the remaining three security branches, which fall under the command of the Hamas-led Interior Ministry.

In response, Interior Minister Said Siyam announced a plan last month to create the new force, which would be solely under his control.

Abbas vetoed the force, which is to number about 3,000 fighters and be headed by Jamal Abu Samhadana, a key player in ongoing rocket attacks on Israel and a suspect in the deadly 2003 bombing of an American convoy in the Gaza Strip.

Ignoring Abbas, Siyam said the unit would begin operating immediately.

Within hours, dozens of members of the armed force, all wearing the beards favored by observant Muslims, were deployed in central and southern Gaza. At the Bureij refugee camp, about 75 fighters patrolled the camp or took up positions outside.

Members of a security branch answerable to Abbas stood just a few yards away.

Siyam activated the new force just hours after masked gunmen killed a member of Hamas' military wing before dawn in a drive-by shooting at the Jebaliya refugee camp.

On Tuesday evening, another Hamas activist was killed in a similar attack in Gaza City. Two more Hamas activists were wounded in a third shooting. Those attacks came less than a day after the cars of senior Fatah militants were blown up in Gaza City.

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posted by Ace at 11:58 AM

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