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Renewed Palestinian fighting spreads to West Bank

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Renewed Palestinian fighting spreads to West Bank


The violent clashes between armed Palestinian factions have spread out of the Gaza Strip and into the West Bank. Fatah was determined to disarm its opponents in the city of Nablus, and sent in gunmen to arrest suspected Hamas fighters .

But as the men were led away at gunpoint, shots from across the street forced the arrest party and their prisoners to run for safety.

Despite the bloody power struggle in Gaza, much of the West Bank has remained relatively calm so far.

But many observers fear that the fighting in Gaza will engulf the West Bank, touching off a new wave of violence across the Middle East.

The Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has denounced the fighting in Gaza as “utter madness”.

He refused to blame any one group in particular, Fatah or Hamas, but said that anyone carrying a gun on the streets was equally culpable.

The killing in Gaza shows no sign of ending. A march by hundreds of ordinary Palestinians calling for an end to the violence was attacked by unknown gunmen. Several people were wounded and some reports said two had died.

More than 600 people are feared to have been killed in the 18 months since Hamas won parliamentary elections in January 2006.

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