Gaza Strip: Fleeing Fatah men allowed to enter Israel; Nine dead in clshes
Over 180 Fatah-allied fighters, including 16 wounded from a bloody clash with Hamas in Gaza Strip fled to Israel late Saturday. The Israeli army allowed the wounded Palestinians and the others to cross the border after having stripping them of their weapons, saying that it was a "humanitarian gesture."
Gaza City turned from the early hours of the morning into a deadly battleground as Hamas security forces seized control of a Fatah stronghold. Hamas said it detained dozens of men, including 10 who had tried to flee disguised as women, and confiscated weapons.
The fighting raged throughout the day in the Shojaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City, home to 100,000 people, including the Fatah-linked Hilles clan which Hamas held responsible for a car bombing last week. All in all, nine people were killed and 80 were wounded. Twelve of the wounded were children, hospital officials said, and eight people were in critical condition.
Ahmed Hilles, a clan leader and Fatah official, said Hamas police cut off electricity as they launched the raid. Explaining why the clan fought back, he conveyed: "You have to decide: Either be trampled under Hamas' shoes, or stand in dignity." Before the death toll climbed to nine, it was reported that three Hamas police and a member of the Hilles clan were killed.
Hilles was among those who had been wounded and was allowed to cross into Israel.