Hamas fighters hunted down prominent loyalists of the Palestinian president in the Gaza Strip on Thursday after seizing most of the strongholds of Fatah movement. In the West Bank President Mahmoud Abbas signed decrees dismissing the three-month-old unity government formed with Hamas and declaring a state of emergency.
At least 29 Palestinians were killed in Gaza Strip, hospital staff said, including 18 Fatah men found in the headquarters of Abbas' Preventive Security force.
Abbas signed three decrees, aides said. One dissolves the Hamas-led "unity government" that Fatah joined in March under a Saudi-brokered agreement aimed at ending internal violence and easing Western sanctions for Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel. A second decree establishes a state of emergency and a third establishes an "emergency" government, a spokesman said.