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Palestinian group threatens to kill Hamas leaders

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  • Joseph M. Hochstein
    Reuters Mon Oct 2, 2006 7:57 PM ET Palestinian group threatens to kill Hamas leaders By Nidal al-Mughrabi
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 3, 2006
      Mon Oct 2, 2006 7:57 PM ET

      Palestinian group threatens to kill Hamas leaders
      By Nidal al-Mughrabi

      GAZA (Reuters) - The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed wing of
      Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, threatened
      for the first time on Tuesday to kill Hamas leaders, including
      exiled political chief Khaled Meshaal.

      The threat marked an escalation in the power struggle between
      Fatah and the ruling Hamas movement after two days of internal
      fighting in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank in which 12
      Palestinians were killed and more than 100 wounded.

      In a statement sent to Reuters, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades said
      it held Meshaal, Palestinian Interior Minister Saeed Seyam and
      senior Interior Ministry official Youssef al-Zahar responsible
      for the deaths.

      "We in al-Aqsa announce, with all might and frankness, the ruling
      of the people in the homeland and in the diaspora, to execute the
      head of the sedition, Khaled Meshaal, Saeed Seyam and Youssef
      al-Zahar, and we will execute this ruling so those filthy people
      can be made an example," the statement said.

      Meshaal is based in Damascus, while Seyam and al-Zahar are in the
      Gaza Strip.

      Hamas legislator Mushir al-Masri said al-Aqsa was "pouring oil on
      the fire" between the rival groups.

      He said Hamas would "not show mercy" if any of its leaders were
      targeted by what he called "the leaders of the internal coup".

      A spokesman for the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Gaza declined to
      say whether the statement represented the views of the entire
      group or certain factions.

      The spokesman described the statement as a "natural response"
      after Seyam ordered his forces to take to the streets of Gaza on
      Sunday to confront striking policemen demanding overdue salaries.
      Clashes between rival Hamas and Fatah forces quickly erupted and

      Abbas has been locked in an increasingly bitter power struggle
      with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas over stalled efforts
      to form a unity government after Hamas defeated Fatah in
      elections in January.

      Tension has been fueled by the government's inability to pay full
      salaries to its workers, many of them from Fatah, as a result of
      a Western aid embargo designed to push Hamas to recognize Israel,
      renounce violence and abide by interim deals.

      A top aide to Abbas said on Monday the president was seriously
      considering the possibility of forming an emergency government,
      an administration of technocrats or calling early elections to
      end the crisis with Hamas.
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