Israel is continuing “targetted assassinations” in supposedly unoccupied Gaza. But internecine Palestinian violence, alas, now seems equally efficient in killing off the Palestinian leadership.
An Israeli missile strike on a car in Gaza City May 20 killed a top Islamic Jihad commander, Mohammed Dahdouh. A Palestinian woman, Hanan Aman, her 4-year-old son Mohanad and a female relative Naima Aman were also killed in the attack, and three others wounded. (Al-Bawaba, May 20)
Earlier in Gaza City, an explosion ripped through the headquarters of the Palestinian Intelligence Service, killing one person and wounding at least eight others, including intelligence chief General Tareq Abu Rajab, who was hospitalized and is believed to be the target of the attack. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Palestinian intelligence officials indicated that Hamas, which now controls the Palestinian parliament, was responsible. (VOA, May 20)
After the attack, Palestinian gunmen broke into the Ramallah parliament compound to protest the apparent assassination attempt. Members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas’ Fatah movement, entered the parking lot inside the compound, firing shots in the air. (Mediafax, May 20)
Meanwhile, rival Palestinian forces are facing off at Gaza’s border crossing with Egypt after a Hamas official was caught with 639,000 euros hidden in his clothing. Some 100 gunmen from the new Hamas-led secuirty force raced to the Rafah crossing where Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri was caught with the money. Rafah is guarded by Abbas’ presidential guard, raising fears of new Palestinian infighting days after clashes in Gaza.
Hamas said Abu Zuhri was carrying Arab donations for the new government, which is desperately short of funds, and for Palestinians in Israeli jails.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh vowed during Friday prayers yesterday not to disband a new Hamas-led security force and said he was prepared to increase its size in defiance of President Abbas and the Bush administration. (Australia Sunday Times, May 21)
Rival security forces loyal to Hamas and Fatah agreed to end a spate of armed clashes at an emergency meeting in Gaza City May 10. The fighting has left three dead and several wounded in Gaza. (AlJazeera, May 10)
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