Hamas Suspends Talks With Fatah

Inter-Palestinian fighting flared again Saturday morning, January 27, as the ruling Hamas movement has suspended talks with President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party in protest at the renewed violence after a short lull.

Hamas Suspends Talks With Fatah

"Hamas has decided to freeze national dialogue with Fatah to condemn the deadly clashes and the crimes committed against its members," spokesman Ismail Radwan said Friday night, January 26, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Fatah was swift to react.

"This announcement does not surprise us. Hamas does not want a government of national unity. It's not possible to have a dialogue with killers," said Maher Maqdad, the Fatah spokesman in Gaza.

Fatah and Hamas had on Tuesday begun a new round of negotiations on forming a unity government acceptable to Western donors, just two days after Abbas held talks in Syria with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.

Tensions had flared between the rival factions after Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, had called on December 16, 2006, for early elections.

Hamas, which won a resounding election victory exactly one year ago and has struggled to govern since then in the face of international isolation, denounced the call as a "coup d'etat".

15 Killed

Clashes between the two rival factions have left 15 people dead and 45 injured in two days, medics in the Gaza Strip said Saturday.

"The number of dead has reached 15 since Thursday night," Muawiya Hassanein, chief of emergency services, told AFP.

Hassanein said 42 had been injured in the fighting, but doctors at Gaza City's Al Shifa hospital later reported three more people injured.

Most of those killed are from Hamas, Hassanein said. Among the dead are a two-year-old toddler who was caught in the crossfire of a firefight in the south Gaza town of Khan Yunis and a 16-year-old boy killed in Jabbaliya.

An anti-tank rocket was fired on Friday at the house in Gaza of Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmud Zahar.

Zahar was not at home and no one was hurt but the house was damaged, said a source in an interior ministry force loyal to Hamas.

Since the fighting began Thursday night, nine members of Hamas and five members of Fatah have been kidnapped in tit-for-tat abductions in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, and nine Hamas members were kidnapped in the northern village of Kafr Qalil by Fatah, security sources said.

The latest violence comes after a two-week lull that had revived hopes of a deal to form a unity government that could overcome the political and financial impasse that has paralyzed the Palestinian Authority for months.

Clashes between Fatah and Hamas supporters killed more than 30 people between mid-December and early January.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16