An Israeli airstrike against a Hamas position in southern Gaza has killed at least four people. The strike comes on day six of factional fighting between the two partners in the Palestinian’s unity government, Hamas and Fatah, which killed at least another 16 people today, bringing the death toll since Friday to at least 40, with dozens injured.
Hamas gunmen stormed the home of President Abbas’s bodyguard after mortar bombs had been fired near Abbas’s Gaza office, and Hamas positions near the interior ministry were attacked.
At one point dozens of civilians came onto the streets to try and separate the warring factions, chanting “we used to be your human shields against the occupiers, now we have come to protect you from yourselves”. They were forced to flee when a gun battle erupted, wounding eight of them.
Some Fatah leaders are urging President Abbas to call a state of emergency, which would allow him to rule by decree for a limited period of time. He is set to travel to Gaza to try and restore calm.
In February there were hopes the Saudi-brokered deal that formed the unity government would allow Hamas and Fatah to work together. However the deal did not solve the problem of the organisations’ military wings, both of which have been arming since.