Hamas and Fatah gunmen exchanged fire on the streets of Gaza City and the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday. At least 32 people were wounded in Ramallah, some critically.
The shooting in Gaza City started when masked Hamas gunmen battled with Fatah-allied Palestinian police at their post in the middle of the city. The shooting took place a block away from the home of Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan, who Hamas accused of collaborating with Israel and the USA.
The fighting in Ramallah began when Fatah and Hamas fighters started shooting at each other in the street. Police arrived to break up the fighting.
However, Hamas pushed ahead with its rallies marking the 19th anniversary of its founding. About 70,000 loyalists gathered at a stadium in Gaza City, cheering wildly, sobbing and firing in the air when Premier Ismail Haniyeh arrived flanked by more than 50 armed bodyguards. "We joined this movement to become martyrs, not ministers," Haniyeh declared in ahis speech.
Meanwhile, a senior Hamas leader accused Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Friday of launching a war. "What a war Mahmoud Abbas you are launching, first against God, and then against Hamas," Khalil al-Hayya told the rally.