Hamas Stands Defiant as PA Moves to Meet Israeli Ultimatum
The armed wing of the Islamic movement Hamas threatened Thursday to attack officials from Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority if the movement's besieged leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, or any of its members are harmed.
"Ezzedine Al Qassam Brigades warn the Authority and the heads of the security services, especially the mad dog Ghazi Al Jabali, against any attack on the mujahedeen leader Ahmed Yassin or our fighters," the group said in a statement received by AFP.
Jabali is head of Gaza's police.
Israel on Wednesday gave Palestinian President Yasser Arafat 24 hours to round up a list of militants believed to be behind deadly attacks on Israel this week, in which at least 25 Israelis were killed.
A Hamas activist was killed Thursday afternoon reportedly during clashes between Palestinian Authority security forces and Hamas supporters on the streets of Gaza City. Mohammed Salmi, 27, was seriously wounded in the back during the clashes, and later succumbed to his wounds at Gaza's Shiffa Hospital, Hamas members and Salmi's relatives said, as quoted by Haaretz daily.
Hospital officials confirmed Salmi had died of bullet wounds to the back. But a Palestinian security official denied Hamas claims that Salmi had died from their gunfire, said the Tel Aviv-based daily.
"Police did not fire at the demonstrators," the official said. "Hamas demonstrators initiated the fire."
Gunfire was initially reported late Wednesday night when thousands of Palestinians protested the PA decision to put Yassin under house arrest. But reprts said that gunshots were fired only as a warning.
Palestinian security men surrounded Yassin's home late Wednesday but at one stage retreated a few dozen meters down the street when supporters of his Islamic group, some masked and armed, flooded the area.
Some of the 3,000 demonstrators threw stones at police and set a police vehicle on fire, security officials said. A Palestinian policeman was also wounded in the clashes, according to the paper – Albawaba.com
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