It is the deadliest factional fighting yet between Hamas and Fatah. Eight members of the Palestinian presidential guard, affiliated to Fatah, are reported to have been killed by Hamas gunmen in Gaza. This at the Karni crossing, the main commercial lifeline with Israel, on the fifth day of tensions in Gaza.
The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says the priority now is to end what he calls “lawlessness and chaos” by immediately implementing a security plan. Fatah says its guardsmen were going to help comrades under assault by Hamas when Israeli forces at the Karni crossing opened fire. It claims the men retreated but were then ambushed by Hamas. Hamas blames Israel for the killings.
The EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has called for a stop to the violence: “It would be very difficult to move forward politically if the situation internally among the Palestinians has not a good level and security is not guaranteed, that’s clear.” The unrest comes despite an apparent truce agreed on Sunday and after the resignation of the Palestinian Interior Minister.
Meanwhile, it is reported hundreds of fighters loyal to President Abbas have entered Gaza from Egypt as possible reinforcements.