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At least 12 people were killed and 50 wounded in the south of Gaza
At least 12 people were killed and 50 wounded when Hamas militants blew up the headquarters of the supporters of the pro-presidential Fatah movement in the south of Gaza, local radio said Wednesday. Hamas and the pro-presidential Fatah have been engaged in a power struggle since Hamas won parliamentary elections in January 2006, ending four decades of Fatah rule. Clashes resumed June 7, breaking yet again a ceasefire signed two weeks earlier. Hamas demanded that Fatah and affiliated structures leave Gaza, and Fatah leaders ordered the suppression of the "Islamist rebellion" and suspended their coalition membership with Hamas. The violence reached a peak Tuesday in Jebalia, in northern Gaza, when Hamas militants seized the security headquarters controlled by the PNA head and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. At least 28 Palestinians died in the clashes Tuesday, and nine were killed early Wednesday, although Hamas is trying to conceal its losses. The armed confrontation has seen such atrocities as people being thrown from tall buildings, shot in the streets, and the wounded being killed in hospitals. A Fatah security source said Wednesday that Hamas militants were close to seizing control of Gaza and destroying all Fatah armed groups, which stopped any offensive actions and dug in at fortified points of resistance. With today's loss of his headquarters in the town of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, Mahmoud Abbas is left with four strongholds in the area, and Hamas issued a two-day ultimatum for the surrender of all remaining Fatah militants. "We are still holding on, we are not surrendering," the Fatah source said, adding that Hamas continued to maintain the initiative throughout the Gaza Strip. Hamas said earlier Wednesday it seized a Fatah checkpoint on a north-south road and gained control over the so-called Philadelphia corridor on the border between Gaza and Egypt. The U.S. State Department and the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem warned of a "very dangerous security situation" in Gaza, advising journalists not to travel there. Since early 2006, when Hamas won parliamentary elections and deprived Fatah of its long-term monopoly on power, clashes between the two leading political forces have claimed 650 lives, as many as the PNA lost in the same period from Israeli military operations.
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