It began with a kidnapping, a beating and the theft of a white Mitsubishi saloon car. Two months on, Omar Yusuf Hadad, 77, a retired businessman, sat in an armchair in his flat in Gaza City and calmly admitted that his family had captured, questioned, beaten and killed one of their neighbors. Then, with impunity, they dumped his body in the street just outside their own apartment block.
"Yes, we kidnapped him and made our own investigation. He admitted his crime and so we shot him in the street, among the sewage, just 50m away from here," he said. "This is how it is now: Families are taking justice by themselves. I got my rights and now I feel relaxed."
Omar Hadad oversaw the killing of his neighbor to avenge the murder 10 days earlier of his own son. There is now a cycle of family feuds in Gaza, an endless toll of kidnapping and murder fueled by the political and factional violence still tearing this small strip of land apart.
A rare summit seven weeks ago in the Saudi city of Mecca was supposed to have stopped the infighting. It brought together the leaders of the rival Palestinian movements Hamas and Fatah to halt the slide towards civil war. But accounts from Palestinians on the ground suggest the enmity continues and the new, long-awaited, coalition government is struggling to rein in the violence.
Caught up in this continued lawlessness is Alan Johnston, the respected BBC Gaza correspondent who was kidnapped three weeks ago and who, to the growing concern of his colleagues, is still being held.
Although a large criminal clan is suspected of being behind the kidnapping, it is still not clear precisely who holds Johnston or what they want. There were more warnings last week that gunmen were hunting for other foreigners to kidnap. The failure of the new government to resolve what has now become the longest-running hostage case shows the scale of the crisis.
"I'm really worried about the situation," said Sufian Abu Zaida, a former minister and senior Fatah leader from northern Gaza. "Since the establishment of the unity government on the ground nothing is changing."
Nothing would change, he said, until the major factions were disarmed, which was a huge task. Meanwhile, the infighting comes at huge cost.
"We have a very good experience of self-destruction as Palestinians," he said. "And I think the kidnapping of Alan Johnston is one of these ways of self-destruction."
The feud between the Nofals, a Fatah family, and the Hadads, a Hamas family, began in January. Those days saw the worst of the fighting between Fatah, the secular movement which has dominated Palestinian politics for decades, and Hamas, its Islamist rival, which was elected into power last year.
Arafa Nofal, 34, was a recruit in the Preventative Security force, the large, Fatah-dominated security service. Early on the morning of Jan. 29 he was kidnapped, robbed and beaten. Three days later he was released. His kidnapping was only one in a series of tit-for-tat clashes between the rival groups.
His money and cellphone were stolen, along with his car, which he had recently bought hoping to earn some extra money as a taxi driver. In his account of the kidnapping, Nofal said there was no doubt the men who took him were members of the Izzedin al-Qassam brigades, the Hamas armed militia.
"They beat me. They tied my hands and covered my eyes. I was held without food or water," he said.
In the weeks that followed he looked for his car, until on March 13 he saw it parked in Zeitoon, his local neighborhood of Gaza City. He confronted the driver, who told him the car belonged to Hamas and the al-Qassam brigades. The confrontation quickly descended into shouting, then as more men arrived, some Nofal's friends and others Hamas members, there was shooting.
In the clash, Nofal's brother, Mahmoud, another Preventative Security recruit, was shot nine times. He survived but is now seriously ill in a hospital in Egypt.
On the other side, one man was killed, Ala'a Hadad, 40, a member of the al-Qassam brigades who had taken Nofal's car. Ala'a was the son of the retired businessman Omar Hadad. He was shot dead by a single bullet that entered through his abdomen. His father still has his son's walkie-talkie, which is cracked by a bullet-hole.
Nofal denied he was the killer.
In his report, he wrote: "I swear by God the person who killed Ala'a Hadad was not there ... I ask all those striving for the Palestinian factions to find out the truth for the people and to spare more blood as God is my witness."
But last Friday, Nofal was kidnapped again, this time by the Hadad family. He was beaten and shot dozens of times. In the early evening his mutilated body was dumped in the street in Zeitoon.
The Nofal family live in a small, barely decorated house in the neighborhood. An orange cloth hangs just inside the front gate and posters of Arafa are pinned to the wall.
They show a smiling young man in a white shirt, with a trimmed beard.
"What are they fighting about?" said the dead man's sister-in-law, Iman Nofal, 37. "When there are Israeli incursions the Palestinian factions are united. When there are none, they fight each other. They are trying to divide the families against themselves."
"This is enough blood now," said his mother, Muyassa Nofal, 55.
A few streets away is the home of the Hadad family, Hamas supporters who live in a well-appointed apartment in a new tower block. Photographs of their dead son, Ala'a, are pasted on the walls outside.
Omar Hadad, 70, sat quietly in an armchair as he told the story of the murder of his son. The fault, he said, lay entirely with Arafa Nofal.
"He was the killer, we know this," he said.
He talked about the wider crisis in Gaza and said he believed there was little chance of a broader reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah and every chance that the situation would worsen.
"The solution is to stop relying on politicians from Hamas or Fatah, but to have professionals, technocrats to control the politics and economics," he said.
A few minutes later he began to cry.
"I swear I didn't want to kill Arafa but we had to because he killed my son. We had to kill him," he said.
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