Two-year-old killed in renewed factional violence

Palestinians carry the body of two-year-old Hassan Abu al-Nada, killed during fighting between Hamas and Fatah fighters, at his funeral in the northern Gaza Strip, 23 March 2007. (Wesam Saleh/MaanImages)

Gaza - Ma’an News Agency - The death toll due to the renewed clashes between Fatah and Hamas supporters in the Gaza Strip, which began on Wednesday, March 21, rose to three after a two-year-old infant died on Thursday evening.

Security sources reported that the infant, Hassan Abu al-Nada, died from wounds sustained after being shot by armed men while in his house near the home of a leader of the Fatah-affiliated al-Aqsa Brigades, Samih al-Madhoun. Clashes around al-Madhoun’s house, in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, first erupted on Wednesday, during which al-Madhoun’s escort, Rami Srour, 23, was killed and eight others injured. Members of the Srour family also set fire to a house on which members of the pro-Hamas Executive Force were stationed on the roof on Thursday.

Following this arson attack on Thursday, further clashes erupted, causing the moderate injury of a 12-year-old child, Muhammad al-Madhoun, and the death of two-year-old Hassan Abu al-Nada.

These renewed clashes came as Palestinian leaders of both the Hamas and Fatah movements convened on Thursday in the home of the new minister of interior, Hani al-Qawasmi, in an attempt to contain the regrettable events in Gaza. The two sides had agreed to end the tension in the northern Gaza Strip and withdraw their gunmen from the street.

Earlier on Thursday, there had been a series of tit-for-tat incidents between the rival Hamas and Fatah factions. A number of shops and cars were set alight and there was a series of abductions and shoot-outs.

Earlier, unidentified gunmen set ablaze three shops in Beit Lahiya, and a wedding hall in Jabalia, amid continued confrontations.

Tit-for-tat abductions also continued late into the night between Fatah and Hamas members.

Palestinian sources reported that the Executive Force kidnapped two Fatah members in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. Other sources said that Fatah-affiliated gunmen released six Executive Force members after having detained them for several hours in the Shuja’iyyah neighborhood of east Gaza City, where many cars belonging to the Executive Force had also been set alight.

Reports say that two members of Fatah have been killed over recent days and ten citizens have been injured. This is the most serious outbreak of inter-factional violence since the announcement of a national unity government last week.

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