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Hamas Leaders Say Fatah Is Attempting A Coup

From those terrorist enablers at Reuters:

Mortars fired at Abbas’s Gaza office

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) – Gunmen fired two mortar bombs at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s office in Gaza on Sunday, wounding at least five members of his personal guard as tensions with the ruling Hamas movement threatened to boil over.

Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas leader, accused Abbas’s forces of attempting a "military coup" in Gaza after they overran two ministries under the control of the Islamists. Zahar demanded the security men leave the ministries or else be arrested, a move that could provoke further violence.

"What is happening is a real military coup, assassinations, attempted assassinations, the occupation of headquarters and ministries," Zahar told a news conference.

A Palestinian security source said two mortar bombs landed less than 100 meters (330 feet) from Abbas’s office. The president was not in Gaza at the time.

The spiraling unrest followed Abbas’s call on Saturday for fresh presidential and parliamentary elections, a dramatic move that seeks to end nine months of political impasse under Hamas’s Islamist-led government.

Abbas’s forces had earlier sealed off the area around his home in Gaza and battled Hamas gunmen.

A 19-year-old woman was shot during an hour-long gunfight between Hamas and Fatah near Abbas’s compound and later died of her wounds, hospital officials said. At least 15 other people were wounded besides the presidential guards in various clashes, including a French journalist.

Abbas’s 4,000-strong presidential guard, backed by members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group loyal to Abbas’s Fatah movement, took over the Hamas-run Agriculture and Transport ministries, moving to secure a large swathe of central Gaza City.

Angered by the move, forces loyal to Hamas exchanged fire with presidential guards positioned on rooftops around the compound throughout the day.

Earlier, a convoy carrying Zahar was fired on, prompting a gunfight between his guards and the attackers. Zahar was unharmed. His aides blamed the attack on Abbas’s forces.

In his first public comments since Abbas called for early elections, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a senior Hamas leader, said new polls could cause greater unrest and urged calm. Hamas has it will boycott new elections.

After nine months of factional violence that has raised fears of civil war, Abbas said polls should be held as soon as possible. But he also said efforts to form a unity government should continue, despite repeated failure.

One begins to suspect that Palestinians don’t play well with others.

Or even with themselves.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, December 17th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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