Fears of civil war in Gaza are growing after a judge belonging to the Hamas movement was shot dead by unidentified gunmen. Bassam al Fara, 28, was snatched from his car and shot at point blank range by assassins who had lain in wait for their prey, according to eyewitnesses.
He had been a member of Hamas’s al Qassam armed wing and local supporters pointed the finger of suspicion at the rival Fatah movement. Hamas spokesman Ismail Rudwan condemned the killing, saying: “Those with dirty hands will not escape punishment; those who have done us wrong will pay the price.”
For their part, some 2,000 Fatah supporters have been calling for the Hamas-led government to be sacked, following the killing of three children of senior Fatah intelligence officer Colonel Bahaa Baaloucha on Monday. Shopkeepers have gone on strike to denounce the murder of the children, who were shot dead while being driven to school. Underlying the conflict is the failure of the rival factions to form a government of national unity.