Friday, December 15, 2006

Al-Jazeera: "Bodyguard dies in attack on Haniya"

One of the two main Palestinian "political parties," in fact the one considered to be "moderate," just tried to assassinate the leader of the other one. Nobody expects anything better--this would almost be too trivial to bother reporting, except that these two entities, Hamas and Fatah, have a tremendous ability to influence the lives of the world's largest Jewish population. People feel that so much depends on all these questions involving the Palestinians: Will they recognize us, will they "renounce violence," will they negotiate, etc. It's farcical.
A bodyguard to the Palestinian prime minister has been killed when his convoy came under fire after crossing into Gaza through the Rafah terminal from Egypt.

Ismail Haniya's son, Abed, and a political adviser were also hurt during the shooting on Thursday night, which Hamas is describing as an assassination attempt by the Fatah faction.

Haniya was returning from a regional tour and had raised an estimated $35 million in aid. Border security prevented him from bringing the money into Gaza.

Hamas security forces later seized control of the crossing, which is regularly closed by Israel leaving thousands of Palestinians stranded in Egypt or stuck within the territory. Twenty people were wounded.

Haniya's convoy sped away after the attack and officials said he was unharmed.

Haniya said: "We know the party that shot directly at our cars ... and we also know how to deal with this." [...]

At least 20 people were wounded in clashes at the border between armed men from Hamas and the rival Fatah faction of Abbas, the Palestinian president.

Hamas fighters, angry that Israel was preventing Haniya from returning, stormed the terminal.

The pro-Fatah presidential guard, responsible for securing the area, opened fire.

The European monitors who police the crossing fled.

Hamas security officials chanted "God is Great, let's liberate this place" as they took over the arrival hall, and border guards escorted the European monitors to safety.

Two loud explosions rocked the area, and security officials said Hamas officials blew a hole in the border fence about half a mile from the terminal.

Thursday's unrest is likely to strain the US-brokered deal that turned over control of the crossing to the Palestinians last year after four decades of Israeli control. The border can only operate in the presence of European monitors.

A senior Israeli security official said Amir Peretz, the Israeli defence minister, had ordered the border to be closed not to block Haniya's entry but to keep the money out . . .

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