05/16/2007, 00.00
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More bloodshed as a result of Hamas-Fatah clashes in Gaza

Twenty-eight people are killed between Friday and last night. It is the worst death toll since a Saudi-brokered peace deal was signed and a national unity government was set up in March. Israel, whose army shot and killed a Palestinian over night, said it was following the situation but would not intervene.

Gaza (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Deadly clashes between Hamas and Fatah continue in Gaza in spite of repeated truces that no one respects. The number of dead in the last 24 hours is five—this brings the total death toll since Friday to 28, the worst since March when Saudi mediation brought to and end the cycle of inter-Palestinian attacks and ambushes.

Last night, according to preliminary evidence, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, backed by the Interior Ministry’s Executive Force, also controlled by the Islamist party, attacked the Karni border station, the only commercial crossing point between Israel and Gaza defended by about 200 members belonging to the National Security Forces, which is loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The clash, which was filmed and shown on Palestinian TV, caused the death of seven people.

At the same time, the Israeli army opened fire against a Palestinian who, according to Israeli soldiers, was running towards the security barrier that separates the Gaza Strip from Israel.

Four other people also died in Gaza City as a result of an attack by men from the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam brigades against the home of Palestinian Security Chief Rashid Abu Shbak. According to a Fatah spokesman, the dead were bodyguards from Mr Abu Shbak’s security detail. The attackers also tried to torch the security chief’s house and kidnapped his wife and daughter, who were released soon after.

Last night the Egyptian mediator who was instrumental in getting the latest ceasefire agreement was slightly hurt. The convoy that drove him and representatives of Hamas and Fatah came under fire apparently for not stopping at a checkpoint. The ceasefire itself was supposed to come into effect at midnight.

In Jerusalem, Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz said that he was closely monitoring the situation in the Gaza Strip but stated that Israel would avoid any kind of intervention.

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