Fatah-Hamas tensions escalate

46251.jpgTensions between Hamas and Fatah supporters flared into a shootout at the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza on Sunday, just hours after Palestinian leaders pledged to calm internal unrest, BBC reported. More...
 More than four people were injured after gunman from Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades raided the Health Ministry, where they exchanged fire by Hamas guards.

An al-Aqsa spokesman denied that the men belonged to his faction, saying they were from a Gaza clan affiliated with Fatah.
 Witnesses said Hamas’ guards chased off most of the Fatah gunmen and arrested four of them.

“The time has passed when our institutions and our police can be attacked. Whoever holds a gun against one of our institutions, or one of our policemen, opens himself for death,” Interior Ministry spokesman Khaled Abu Hillel said.
 Ministry officials said the gunmen were seeking the better treatment for a hospital patient. Although the incident doesn’t appear to be an overtly political matter, the clash comes at a time of tensions in Gazza.

More than 20 people were wounded on Saturday in armed confrontations between Fatah and Hamas supporters. It was the most serious internal fighting since Hamas won the January legislative elections.
 The violence followed the condemnation by Hamas’ political leader Khaled Meshaal of President Mahmoud Abbas’s veto of a new Gaza security force formed by Hamas and headed by a top Palestinian fighter wanted by Israel.

Hamas and Fatah officials held talks late Saturday to try to resolve some of the differences. But despite their calls for calm, protests continued on Sunday.
 Meanwhile, Hamas’ Foreign Minister said that the Palestinian Authority received 50 million doll in aid and another 40 million doll was on the way.

“We have received 50 million doll and 20 million had been received by the Arab League, while 20 million doll more were on the way,” Mahmud Zahar told reporters in Kuwait.
 Zahar arrived in Kuwait yesterday on a two-day visit as part of a regional tour to raise funds for the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority after the U.S. and other world powers cut aid following Hamas’ election victory.¼br />  

“I think that during the current tour, we will be able to raise”  the needed funds, said Zahar, adding that the Palestinian government needed some 140 million doll monthly.
  The Palestinian Foreign Ministry held talks with the Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, and his Kuwaiti counterpart Shaikh Mohammad Al Sabah who pledged that the emirate “will provide its share of aid under Arab summit decision.”
Saudi Arabia pledged to pay 92 million doll, while Qatar and Iran each agreed to contribute 50 million dollars.
 Nabil Amr, a top aide to Abbas, said on Sunday that the transfer of funds which had reached the Arab League for the Palestinians had been blocked, blaming foreign opponents. He said that “several parties have warned Palestinian financial establishments against handling sums destined for the government formed by Hamas.”

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