There has been violence on the streets of the West Bank with confrontations between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah. At least 32 people have been injured, some critically, after security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly opened fire on a Hamas rally in Ramallah. Fighting between the two groups spread to the Gaza Strip – raising fears that the territory is on the brink of civil war. The violence comes after the ruling group Hamas accused Fatah of being behind what it described as an assassination attempt on Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Thursday night.
The Palestinian leader and his convoy were fired on just outside the Rafah border crossing. Haniyeh was unhurt but one of his bodyguards was killed and the prime minister’s son and a political adviser were wounded. Once inside Gaza, Hamas claimed that a top Fatah lawmaker had been responsible for the attack. Fatah has officially denied any involvement. There has been a steadily intensifying power struggle between Abbas and Haniyeh as talks to form a unity government have stalled.