Palestinian firefighters go on strike in Gaza, deepening Hamas-Fatah tensions

Gaza's 900-member firefighting force began an open-ended strike on Tuesday, in the latest challenge by the vanquished Fatah movement to the Islamic group Hamas' rule over the coastal area. Saker Mujahed, commander of the Civil Defense Force, ordered his men to stop work early Tuesday, claiming Hamas has taken over its buildings and equipment. Mujahed, a Fatah supporter, issued the order from his West Bank headquarters. Hamas seized control of Gaza after five days of fighting against Fatah forces in June. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah responded by expelling Hamas from the government and forming a new, Western-backed government based in the West Bank.