Daily Israel Report

Palestinian Authority Militia War Continues Despite Truce

An Egyptian-brokered truce reached to enable Gazan students to take graduation exams lasted only a few hours when new gun battles erupted.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 6/11/2007, 1:38 PM / Last Update: 6/11/2007, 3:58 PM

Hamas and Fatah terrorists agreed Monday to hold their fire, at least long enough for Palestinian Authority high school children in Gaza to get through their high school graduation exams. The ill-fated truce which lasted only several hours was brokered by Egypt.

The 70,000 students have been forced to dodge machine gun barrages, snipers’ bullets and kidnappers on their way to and from school over the past months.

But hours after the Monday truce was declared, gunshots created new pockmarks in buildings as Hamas and Fatah terrorists continue to try to kill each other.  Loyalists to Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah attacked the PA Ministry of Youth and Sports, headed by Hamas member Bassam Naim. PA sources said no one was injured in the gunfight.

Six people were killed over the weekend and at least 55 others were wounded in the latest round of fighting between the two Palestinian Authority coalition government partners.

Both terror organizations used new methods as they redoubled their struggle for control of the government.

Militants opened fire at the home of Hamas PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in the Shati neighborhood of Gaza City. Hamas officials would not say whether their leader was present during the apparent assassination attempt.

Local sources did say the PA prime minister’s wife, children and grandchildren were in the home during the 15-minute barrage of bullets fired from a nearby high-rise building.

Gunmen also attacked the Hamas prime minister's office while he was meeting with his cabinet ministers, barely four hours after Monday's truce was announced.  "We are taking fire," said a Hamas official who was in the building at the time. No injuries were reported in the attack.

On Sunday, Hamas terrorists grabbed a member of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ elite Force 17 Presidential Guard and hurled him to his death from the roof of a 15-story apartment building.

Fatah responsed in kind by kidnapping a Hamas imam (cleric) and shoving him to his death from the 12th floor of a building. In ensuing gunbattles and shelling, at least one other person was killed and over 30 wounded.

Three others were killed in the course of the weekend.

Some of the fiercest fighting took place in the strategic town of Rafiah, located next to the Rafiah terminal which serves as Gaza’s international border crossing into Egypt.

Terrorists toting rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and machine guns patrolled the town, while sniper shots rang out in the blood-drenched streets.

Egyptian negotiators brokered a previous truce between the Hamas and Fatah terrorist organizations which broke down two months ago.

Since then, more than 60 people have been killed and at least a hundred have been wounded, including several children, as a result of the PA militia war.