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December 15, 2006

Hamas, Fatah Clash After Assassination Attempt On (Hamas) PM

Scorpions in a bottle.

The ruling Hamas group accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah of starting a war after his security forces opened fire on Friday on a Hamas rally in the West Bank and firefights broke out in Gaza.

"What a war Mahmoud Abbas you are launching, first against God, and then against Hamas," senior Hamas leader Khalil al-Hayya told a Gaza City rally of 100,000 Hamas supporters, who chanted "God is Greatest" and fired guns into the air.

At least 32 Hamas supporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah were wounded by gunfire from Abbas's forces, hospital officials said. Several were in critical condition.

Tensions were at their highest in a decade and followed months of failed talks to form a unity government between the ruling Hamas Islamist faction and Abbas's once-dominant Fatah.

Hayya said Hamas would not agree to holding an early election or a referendum on the issue, a move that Abbas could announce in a speech planned for Saturday in an attempt to break the political deadlock.

Hayya did not say what Hamas would do if Abbas made such a dramatic announcement.

The fresh violence broke out after Hamas, which controls the Palestinian Authority, accused a Fatah strongman and Abbas's presidential guard of trying to kill Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh outside the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

Wait-- this is a Reuters story. I see Arabs/Palenstinians/Muslims behaving badly, but no blame at all cast on the US or Israel. What gives?

Although Israel was not involved in the latest fighting, its decision -- with US backing -- to prevent Haniyeh from entering Gaza with $35 million intensified the standoff in which Haniyeh's convoy came under fire late on Thursday.

Ah. My faith is restored.


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posted by Ace at 01:49 PM

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