At least 11 have died in Gaza, in clashes between Hamas-run security forces and a powerful family suspected of having ties with the Army of Islam, an armed group inspired by al-Qaeda.
GAZA - A pro-al Qaeda militant and nine other Palestinians were killed
on Tuesday in fierce overnight gunbattles in the Gaza Strip, Hamas
police officials said.
The fighting involving Islamist Hamas security forces and
mostly members of the militant Doghmosh clan was the worst among
Palestinians in the coastal territory since clashes in July in
which more than a dozen died.
Hamas forces, responding to the killing of one of their
policemen during an arrest operation on Monday, raided a clan
stronghold in Gaza City before dawn on Tuesday in search of
suspects, officials said.
Eight clan gunmen and an unarmed boy were killed in a gun
battle that went on for hours, while others were arrested, Hamas
officials said. A Hamas policeman also died and 40 people were
wounded, they added.
One of the gunmen killed was a member of the Army of Islam,
a pro-al Qaeda group, a Hamas source said.
The Army of Islam was involved in the March 2007 abduction
of BBC reporter Alan Johnston, who was held hostage for four
months before being released, and the 2006 capture of an Israeli
soldier, Gilad Shalit, who is still being held.
Others in the clan are divided between supporters of
Islamist Hamas and those who back Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas's Fatah movement, whose fighters were defeated when Hamas
seized control of Gaza last year.
The Hamas-controlled interior ministry said in a statement
its security forces resorted to force against "fugitives",
including the Doghmosh clan, only "after exhausting all peaceful
efforts" to arrest suspects.
Islam Shahwan, a spokesman for Hamas police, said the
policeman killed was shot by a sniper and that three of the clan
members killed were wanted gunmen.
Police also said they seized explosives and weapons during
Date created : 2008-09-16