At Least 11 Die in Bloody Day of Hamas-Fatah Clashes in Gaza

Gunbattles spill into Gaza hospitals; infighting reignites despite Egypt-brokered truce.

At least 11 Palestinians were confirmed dead Monday in clashes between Fatah and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and more than 40 were wounded, hours after an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire was implemented. The clashes occured mostly near the the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and hospital in Beit Hanun.

Despite a Fatah announcement of a unilateral cease-fire, Naim al-Dahdouh, a senior member of the Hamas military wing, was killed late Monday and the exchanges of fire continued.

Earlier, a senior Fatah figure, Jamal Abu-Jedian, was assassinated by Hamas gunmen near his Gaza home. Abu-Jedian was a close associate of Mohammed Dahlan, a Fatah strongman and security adviser to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian sources said Abu-Jedian had been executed outside his home. Medics said he was hit by 45 bullets.

Al-Jedian was the Secretary General of the Fatah movement in the northern Gaza Strip and a co-founder of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade. He was also a close associate of Mohammed Dahlan, a Fatah strongman and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' security adviser. In the past, Abu-Jedian had been the target of several Hamas assassination attempts.

During the battles around Abu-Jedian's house, Hamas member Mohammed Muhajez was also killed.

Palestinian sources said Al-Jedian had been executed outside his home. Medics said 45 bullets had been used in his assassination.

Fatah spokesman Maher Mikdad harshly denounced the killing. "What is this, if not a war," he said, pledging revenge. In a message, Fatah called on its members to target all Hamas political and military leaders.

Two others were killed in battles late Monday in northern Gaza, Palestinian security and hospital officials said.

Later, Hamas said one of its men, who was kidnapped earlier, was found dead in a Gaza street.

Earlier Monday, Hamas gunmen killed Fatah intelligence officer Yasser Bakar, and his 16-year old brother. The incident prompted members of his family to launch a revenge shooting spree. Two members of Hamas, barricaded inside Gaza's biggest hospital, Shifa, were killed during the melee.

Hospital officials reported that Bakar gunmen began firing mortars and rocket-propelled grenades at Shifa Hospital, drawing Hamas fire from inside the building. During the Shifa fighting, top Hamas militant Mazen Ajur was killed. Another member of the Bakar clan was also killed.

In separate fighting at a hospital in Beit Hanun, three people were killed and at least 10 were wounded. The dead were identified as Id al-Masri and his two sons, Farej and Ibrahim, of the al-Masri clan, which has ties to the Fatah movement.

Mohammed Odeh, a volunteer for the Red Crescent rescue service, said one of the dead had been shot at close range. Hospital officials reported that the three victims were at the hospital being treated for injuries.

In another incident in Beit Lahia, Hamas member Bassel al-Caparna was also killed.

Hospital authorities announced that they were suspending their work in view of the clashes inside the hospital.

The clashes had reignited after the cease-fire had been put in place with a gun battle outside the parliament building in Gaza City, while the Palestinian cabinet was meeting.

The cease-fire was implemented after gunmen carried out a pre-dawn attack Monday on Haniyeh's home, also targeting the offices of the Hamas-run Culture Ministry. Culture Minister Bassem Naim was inside the building at the time at the attack, said his sister Huda. There were no injuries, she said, accusing Fatah of trying to kill her brother.