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Hamas and Fatah Gunmen Clash in West Bank and Gaza


Rival Palestinian factions have clashed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the fifth straight day. At least 32 people were injured. Meanwhile, tens-of-thousands of Hamas supporters rallied in Gaza.

Gunmen from the ruling Islamic militant group Hamas and the rival Fatah faction fought street battles in the West Bank town of Ramallah and Gaza City.

Fighting erupted after Hamas accused Fatah of trying to assassinate Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

He came under fire as he crossed the border from Egypt into Gaza on Thursday.

One of Mr. Haniyeh's body guards was killed and his son wounded.

Trouble began at the border after Israel blocked Mr. Haniyeh from returning to Gaza with suitcases Western officials say were packed with 35-million dollars he collected on a tour of Muslim countries, including Iran, in defiance of international sanctions, imposed on Hamas because of its refusal to renounce violence and recognize Israel.

Egypt, which fears growing Iranian influence in the region, cooperated with Israel in preventing Mr. Haniyeh from bringing the money across its border with Gaza.

That prompted Hamas militants to seize the border terminal, sparking gun battles with security guards from Fatah.

In the end, the money was handed over to the Arab League in Cairo, which will try to find a way to get it to the Palestinian people, not Hamas.

Speaking at a rally of 70-thousand Hamas supporters in Gaza, Prime Minister Haniyeh was defiant.

He said, "We joined this movement to become martyrs, not government ministers."

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