Gulf & Middle East
10 killed as Gaza violence escalates
May 15, 2007 - 4:31:49 PM

Gaza City, May 15 - Hamas militants opened fire on a jeep with officers of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' National Security force in Gaza City Tuesday, killing at least eight members of the force.

It was the worst single attack since deadly clashes between Hamas and Abbas' Fatah movement resurfaced over the weekend for the first time since the rival groups formed a unity government two months ago with the main aim of ending Palestinian infighting.

According to the witnesses, the Hamas militants launched a rocket or rocket-propelled grenade at the vehicle outside a National Security checkpoint near the Gaza City beach.

The gunmen had been lying in an ambush and waited for a change of shift at the checkpoint, they said.

The attack came hours after members of Abbas' presidential guard shot dead a Hamas commander, Ibraheem Menia, when he refused to stop at a roadblock set up by them in eastern Gaza City.

Hamas' military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, had vowed to revenge his death.

'We will deal with Menia's murderers in the same way we deal with the Israeli occupation's spies,' it had said in a statement.

Clashes meanwhile erupted at the Karni border crossing, as militants launched rocket-propelled grenades at both the Palestinian and Israeli side of the crossing.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said soldiers on the Israeli side opened fire when they saw two armed men running toward them. Palestinians said at least one of them was killed.

The military said it closed the crossing as a result of the internal fighting, which comes despite a new Hamas-Fatah ceasefire reached Sunday night.

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