Palestinian civil war watch

Reuters/NY Times:

Six people were killed on Sunday when forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas raided a Hamas hideout, just days after he promised in Washington to fulfill his security commitments.

The violence erupted when police encircled a house in the West Bank town of Qalqilya where a top Hamas field commander, Mohammad Samman, and his deputy Mohammad Yasin had taken refuge, witnesses and security officials said.

Both Hamas men and the homeowner died in the shootout, along with three policemen. Dozens of bullet holes in walls and furniture in the home attested to the ferocity of the fighting.

It was the bloodiest internal Palestinian clash in the occupied West Bank since the Western-backed Abbas launched a security drive and revived peace talks with Israel in 2007 after breaking with Hamas over its takeover of the Gaza Strip.

Samman and Yasin had ignored calls to surrender, witnesses said. Palestinian security forces spokesman Adnan Damiri said police had tried to negotiate a peaceful end to the standoff.

"Thousands of shots were fired at the security forces," Damiri said, adding that large quantities of explosives were discovered in the Hamas hideout.

If there is to be any chance of a Palestinian state, there will probably be more such confrontations. Without a central authority willing to police other Palestinians who want to make war against Israel, the Palestinians have nothing of value to offer the Israelis.

Fatah also correctly sees Hamas as an existential threat to their ability to rule the Palestinians. Gaza has certainly shown how the religious bigots of Hamas will rule and ruin the lives of Palestinians.


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