Gaza Strip: Six dead as tension boils over peace plan

Published June 5th, 2006 - 09:22 GMT

A huge blast tore through a house in Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on Monday, killing a Hamas man and wounding two of his relatives, one of them an eight-year-old girl, locals said.


The victim of the explosion was identified as Ahmed Khali. The cause of the blast was not immediately known. Earlier reports said a car had blown up.


An Israeli army spokesman said there were no Israeli military operations in the area at the time of the explosion. According to news agencies, hundreds of people gathered outside the house after the explosion.


This blast is the latest in the ongoing confrontation between Fatah and Hamas.


Earlier, at least five Palestinians died and nine wounded late Sunday night as a result of gunbattles between Hamas and Fatah members which raged in Gaza City and Khan Yunis.


It all started when Palestinian gunmen shot dead a pregnant woman and wounded her husband and his brother, a Hamas activist, in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday, hospital sources said. Palestinian sources later reported that two Fatah members were shot dead after gunmen opened fire toward a mourners' tent in the Shati refugee camp. The mourners' tent was set up in the home of Khader Afana, an officer of the Preventative Security forces who was killed several days ago.


Elsewhere, witnesses said gunmen shot at local Hamas leader Mohammad al-Ghalban as he was traveling in a car with family members after dark in the town of Khan Younis.

Hamas blamed Fatah gunmen for the attack and subsequently deployed in the streets.


Ghalban and his brother, who was critically wounded, were being treated at a Gaza hospital, medics said. They later died of their wounds.


All these incidents come as Fatah declared a midnight Monday deadline for Hamas to agree to an ultimatum by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on a peace plan that implicitly recognizes Israel. Fatah officials said that Hamas has until midnight to accept the National Reconciliation Document ("the prisoners' document") which calls for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza according to the pre-1967 borders.


The document, which has 18 sections, was written by five prisoners at the Hadarim prison, including Fatah secretary-general Marwan Barghouti and Abdel Halek Natshe of Hamas.

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