Gaza: Hamas forces beat Fatah followers
A protest against Hamas rule by Fatah followers turned violent Friday when Hamas men started forcefully dispersing the crowd, firing in the air and beating demonstrators and reporters. Five people were hurt in the clashes, including two French reporters, according to doctors and witnesses.
The Associated Press reported the beating of one journalist by Hamas supporters. He was not seriously hurt.
The violence started at the end of a Fatah prayer meeting held to protest against Hamas, which seized control of the Strip over two months ago. After the Fatah supporters finished prayers, Hamas men started firing into the air to disperse the crowd.
The Hamas security forces then began arresting protesters and taking them away in jeeps, and also beat several demonstrators. Hamas men in civilian clothes also joined the uniformed forces in dispersing the protest, the AP reported.
A small blast from an unknown source slightly injured two French journalists.
At one point, a Hamas security building was pelted with small explosives. Hamas security agents responded by firing in the air.
After the clashes, heavily armed Hamas security agents entered AP's offices in Gaza City and instructed staff not to film or photograph a nearby security building from the balcony without prior approval. Saber Khalifa, a Hamas security spokesman, conveyed his force was rounding up "subverters." According to a Fatah official in Gaza, 25 men were detained.