12/15/2006, 00.00
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Huge Hamas rally following Haniyeh attack

Hamas leaders make threatening statements. PM instead urges people not to spill Palestinian blood. More than 30 people are injured in Ramallah as security forces loyal to President Abbas clash with supporters of the Islamist movement.

Gaza City (AsiaNews/Agencies) – More than 30 people were injured in Ramallah following armed clashes between Mahmoud Abbas’s presidential guard and Hamas supporters. In Gaza Hamas militiamen have taken to the streets as tens of thousands of its followers shouted their support for Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh who narrowly escaped an assassination attempt last night.

Notwithstanding the ritual accusations levelled at Israel and the United States, Haniyeh tried to avoid further clashes rather than seek vengeance against his attackers. “I appeal to you to uphold national unity and to preserve Palestinian blood,” he told a huge crowd of cheering, green-flag waving Hamas supporters in Gaza City’s Yarmouk Stadium.

Speaking before the PM, Hamas parliamentary whip Khalil al-Hayya accused Mohammad Dahlan of personally organising last night’s attack.

Similarly, Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan had earlier said the attack at Rafah was “an assassination attempt carried out by traitors led by Mohammad Dahlan”.

Dahlan, whom al-Hayya called a collaborator, traitor and apostate, is a former Palestinian minister in charge of security. As Fatah’s strong man in the Gaza Strip he is a key player in the ongoing power struggle.

Today he denied any involvement in the incident and rejected the Hamas accusations, saying the governing party was trying to “mask their sweeping failure to manage Palestinian political and social life.”

According to Israeli daily Haaretz, Dahlan is one of eight Fatah leaders sentenced to death by Hamas’s Shura or religious council.

In the West Bank’s town of Ramallah clashes, which began when security forces loyal to president Abbas tried to break a demonstration by Hamas supporters, have left so far 34 people injured, including a seriously hurt child.

In this atmosphere President Abbas is scheduled to make a speech tomorrow to announce how to break the current impasse and end the six-month discussions between Hamas and Fatah designed to form a government of national unity.

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See also
Palestinians more confident in Abbas, less toward Hamas
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades make death threats against Hamas ministers
Policemen join strikers, shoot in the air and smash windows of Palestinian parliament
More blood on the eve of Abbas' ultimatum on the "Prisoners' Plan"
Palestinians in favour of prisoners' document in referendum


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