Fatah man wounded in fighting with Hamas over Gaza training ground
Gunfire erupted after Hamas militiamen ignored demand by Fatah security officials to leave the area.
A Fatah member was injured Monday afternoon, as members of a Hamas militia engaged in a daytime gun battle with Fatah-allied security officers in Gaza City on Monday after an argument over who had control of a nearby training compound, security officials said.
It was the worst outbreak of internal violence since rival Palestinian factions agreed to form a unity government last month, officials said.
The Fatah security forces demanded the Hamas militiamen leave the area, but they refused, saying it fell under the jurisdiction of the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry, security officials said.
In two other incidents, unknown assailants fired shots at the house and car of a senior security officer who has had past problems with Hamas, officials said. Shots were also fired at a police headquarters, and police returned fire, the officials said.
The fighting came as negotiators from Hamas and Fatah tried to resolve lingering issues over the formation of a national unity government. Hamas, which won parliamentary elections last year, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement agreed last month to form the coalition government, partly in hopes of ending months of deadly street battles between the two groups.
Palestinian and Western officials said Sunday that Hamas and Fatah forces are both pushing ahead with expansion plans despite the unity government deal.
Also Monday, security officials said they believed hardline Muslims were behind the bombing of a music shop in the southern town of Khan Yunis earlier in the day, following a similar attack on an Internet cafe on Sunday. Another Internet cafe owner was also briefly kidnapped. Nobody was injured in the attacks.
While there were no claims of responsibility, security officials suspect extremist Muslims trying to enforce strict moral conduct were behind the attacks. Hardline Muslims have said youths download pornography from Internet sites, are distracted from prayer by music and buy condoms and hallucinogenic drugs from some pharmacies. Since October, at least 20 such shops have been targeted.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas said Monday that talks on the unity government were not done.