Hamas member killed in Gaza blast

Violence flares at Abbas deadline nears; gunmen storm Palestinian TV station.

brawl in gaza 298  (photo credit: AP [file])
brawl in gaza 298
(photo credit: AP [file])
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Monday said he would not accept any changes to the "prisoner's initiative" calling for a two-state solution with Israel, raising the stakes in a dispute with the Hamas ahead of the critical 10-day deadline he set. Abbas has given Hamas until Tuesday to accept the proposal or face a national referendum on the issue. Hamas has rejected the deadline and demanded changes in the plan.
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"If anyone wants to amend this document, then we will not reach any results," Abbas told reporters after meeting with European Union official Javier Solana. A large explosion ripped through a house in a northern Gaza town on Monday, killing one man and wounding two other people, hospital officials said. Meanwhile in Khan Yunis, Hamas gunmen stormed the Palestine TV broadcasting station , kicking workers out of the building and destroying equipment in a shooting rampage, employees said. There were no details on the cause of the blast in Jebaliya. But relatives said the dead man was a member of Hamas. The wounded included two relatives, including an 8-year-old child. Hundreds of people gathered outside the house after the explosion, while fire engines raced to the scene and rescue crews searched for people in the rubble. Dozens of women stood by weeping. IDF officials said the army wasn't involved in the incident. Violence between warring Palestinian factions claimed the lives of one gunmen and four bystanders late Sunday as the deadline set by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to Hamas neared. In the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis forces loyal to Fatah fought the new Hamas militia, security officials said. A 20-year-old woman, eight months pregnant, was killed when masked gunmen opened fire on a car carrying her and two Hamas operatives, who were wounded. One later died. Then gunmen from the two rival Palestinian factions battled in Gaza City, security officials said, and three bystanders were killed. Relatives of the dead gathered at the hospital where the bodies were taken and shouted anti-Hamas slogans. Near the scene of the shooting, at the entrance to the Shati refugee camp, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was holding consultations with Fatah representatives about the disagreement over a document drawn up by Palestinian prisoners in an Israeli jail, implicitly recognizing Israel. On Monday, Abbas sent former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei to Damascus in a last effort to convince Hamas officials to accept a bargain on the "prisoner's initiative". Qurei was expected to meet Syrian President Bashar Assad in order to request his assistance in convincing Hamas officials, Israel Radio reported. Abbas also sent two officials to the Gaza Strip Monday in order to meet Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, after Haniyeh refused to meet with Abbas' representatives on Sunday. Head of the Fatah faction in the Palestinian Parliament Azzam al-Ahmed said Monday morning that a presidential order for a national referendum would be given by Tuesday morning if the "prisoner's initiative" wasn't accepted by Hamas. According to al-Ahmad, 90 percent of Palestinians supported the initiative. He warned Hamas that if it ignored the results of the referendum, Abbas would disperse the PA parliament and would declare new elections.