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Palestinian gunmen clash with police

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Palestinian gunmen from the ousted Fatah Party stormed government buildings, briefly took over a power plant and blocked a vital road in the Gaza Strip on Monday, creating more chaos as Hamas militants readied to take power.

Nine people were wounded in five separate firefights with Palestinian police. The violence was a foretaste of what might happen if Hamas tries to impose its will on Fatah gunmen.

Bad blood runs deep between Hamas and Fatah, and many Fatah activists – including nearly 60,000 members of the security forces – fear for their government jobs once Hamas takes power.

The bloodiest of Monday’s five confrontations took place at Gaza’s government compound. Three dozen gunmen demanding jobs charged toward the complex, firing in the air. Some burst into the Finance Ministry. Others began firing at random, wounding a doorman outside the adjacent Foreign Ministry before Palestinian police pulled up in jeeps and began exchanging fire with the attackers.

Police eventually stormed the ministry, arresting three gunmen from the Fatah-affiliated Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades. In total, two gunmen and two security officials were wounded in the firefight.

Hamas’ designated foreign minister, Mahmoud Zahar, blamed the violence on Fatah mismanagement.


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