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July 16, 2005

Unprecedented Until Now: Israelis weigh into firefight as Abbas strikes at militants

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives

Israel and the PA fighting Islamic militants, together? Not exactly something we'd ever expect to see - but it has happened!

- TimesOnline UK

THE fragile Middle East truce was near collapse last night as Israel and the Palestinian Authority launched deadly strikes against Hamas in three-way fighting unprecedented in recent times.
From early morning yesterday Palestinian security forces fought running gun battles with the Islamic militant group in the streets of Gaza, in a show of force which was intended to halt militant rocket attacks on Israel, but ended with Hamas gunmen dancing on the burning wreckage of police vehicles.

[Hamas supporters burn an armoured vehicle during clashes with Palestinian police (PHOTO: AHMAD KHATEIB/GETTY IMAGES)]

Barely had the dust cleared from the internecine fighting -- which shocked Palestinian bystanders, rescue workers and religious leaders -- when Israel launched helicopter strikes that killed seven Hamas members in Gaza and the West Bank.

Under fire from two sides Hamas struck back, driving the Palestinian security forces out of its Gaza strongholds and threatening further retaliation against Israel.

The violence raises the stakes before Israel's planned pullout from Gaza due in 30 days, although officials insisted it would not be cancelled.

"The pullout cannot commence under fire," said Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister. "The response to terror acts will be strong and harsh."

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Posted by Hyscience at July 16, 2005 11:25 PM

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