Thursday, March 22, 2007

Unity Goverment update; 1 dead, several abducted

Factions clash in Gaza despite unity deal

Members of a Hamas-led police force clashed on Thursday with gunmen loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction in a second straight day of factional fighting since the formation of a unity government.

A 45-year-old man was killed in a separate shooting incident, though it was not immediately clear whether it was factional or clan related.

Palestinians hoped a unity government formed on Saturday between Hamas Islamists and Abbas's secular Fatah faction would end the fighting.

But clashes broke out on Wednesday and spread after a series of abductions.

The most high profile abductee was local Hamas leader Hamdan Assufi, who disappeared on Wednesday. Hamas said it would take "measures" to free the man if Fatah refused to release him. Fatah has not said whether it is holding him.