Clashes between Hamas and Islamic Jihad in south Gaza leave one dead

October 21, 2007 22:24


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Hamas police and gunmen from the rival Islamic Jihad group exchanged fire for a second day Sunday in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, leaving at least one person dead and 13 wounded, medics said. The ruling Hamas and the much smaller Islamic Jihad have very similar ideologies, and in the past cooperated in attacks against Israel. However, since seizing control of Gaza by force in June, Hamas has insisted only members of its security force can carry weapons in public. In recent weeks, tensions have repeatedly flared between the two groups, including over control of a mosque in southern Gaza. On Saturday, clashes erupted between Hamas and Islamic Jihad gunmen, after an Islamic Jihad activist was stopped in the street by Hamas security forces. A 51-year-old woman was killed in an exchange of fire, and each side kidnapped members of the other group. On Sunday, violence flared again and medics said at least one person was killed. Rafah residents reported hearing loud explosions in their town.

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