PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

Clashes between Hamas and Fatah mar 'day of wrath'

A protest called by Hamas leaders of the Gaza Strip ended in violence when Fatah and Hamas supporters clashed in the West Bank during a second "day of wrath" against the Israeli offensive.

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Supporters of the Hamas movement on Friday clashed with members of the rival Fatah party during protests in the West Bank city of Ramallah against the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.

The clashes erupted after the Hamas rulers of Gaza had urged Palestinians to mark a second "day of wrath" against the Israeli bombardments.

Fist fights erupted and security forces used teargas and batons to disperse the demonstrators who had taken part in rival protests.

Thirteen people were taken to hospital and several others were detained, witnesses said.

 

In the thick of the Ramallah protests. Images : W. Bracciano/FRANCE 24

 


Simmering tensions between Hamas and the Fatah party of secular Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas burst into all-out street warfare in June 2007, when the Islamists seized the Gaza Strip and ousted forces loyal to the Western-backed president, who now only holds sway in the West Bank.

Meanwhile police fired teargas at dozens of young Palestinians who threw stones at them in east Jerusalem.

"We have deployed thousands of men to maintain calm in east Jerusalem," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.

Access to the Al Aqsa mosque compound was restricted to men over 50, with no restrictions for women, he said.

The army also locked down the West Bank for 48 hours, with movement in and out of the territory prohibited except for emergencies and special cases. Some 3,000 people took part in a protest march in the city of Hebron, with some hurling stones at Israeli soldiers who fired rubber-coated bullets and teargas.



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