Freitag, 24. August 2007

Fatah protest in Gaza - violence

Thousands of worshippers and Fatah supporters congregated during Friday prayers in Unknown Soldier Square in the centre of Gaza City to protest against incitement in the mosques. A Palestinian youth from the Fatah movement led the prayers, calling for the union of the Palestinian people in the face of the Israeli occupation. After prayer, Fatah members marched through the streets waving Fatah flags. "Jihad, jihad! (Holy war)," demonstrators chanted as they marched down the streets of Gaza City, applauding as others smashed an unmanned Hamas security post on the roadside. Dozens of protesters threw rocks at a security post the Executive Force commandeered during the brief civil war against Fatah fighters two months ago. Witnesses said Hamas security men opened fire in response, peppering a storefront with bullets. Hamas officials had no immediate comment. When several Hamas security men roughed up a Reuters TV cameraman filming the protest and tried to confiscate his camera, protesters surrounded the Hamas men, beat them to the ground and prevented the cameraman's arrest. The demonstrators cursed the Hamas men, calling them Shiites - a derogatory allusion to Hamas' alliance with the hardline Shiite Muslim regime in Iran. The Hamas men also detained a photographer working for Agence France Press and a cameraman for the Russian TV channel Russia Today, along with two other reporters working for local news outlets. They also broke a TV camera belonging to the Arabic-language TV network al-Arabiya. All four detained journalists were released after being held briefly, Hamas officials and witnesses said. [Maan/reuters/Haaretz]

The Lebanese army has started evacuating families of the Islamist militants who have been fighting troops at a Palestinian refugee camp, a military source said on Friday. The militants and their families have been holed up at the Nahr al-Bared camp since the conflict began on May 20. The fighting has killed nearly 300 people -- the worst internal violence since Lebanon's civil war ended 17 years ago. "The evacuation has begun," the source said. "We announced a ceasefire to ensure the evacuation within a specific time frame. We have received 59 civilians -- 26 women and 33 children."

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