Mon, Feb 26, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Family feud leaves four dead in Gaza

AP , GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP

Four Palestinians were killed in a feud between two families allied with political rivals Hamas and Fatah, raising concerns about a new outbreak of factional fighting.

Saturday was the deadliest day in Gaza since Hamas and Fatah reached a power-sharing deal two weeks ago. That agreement halted months of bloody clashes, but Gaza remains volatile because families of some of those killed still seek revenge.

The latest fighting erupted in the southern town of Khan Younis, between the Ghelban clan allied with Hamas and the Karouah family, which is linked to Fatah. Both families sustained casualties in recent months of fighting.

Just before midnight on Friday, Mohammed Ghelban, 28, a local commander of Hamas' military wing, was driving in his car with his wife and children, said a local security official. Assailants dragged Ghelban from his car and shot and killed him in front of his family, the official said. It was not immediately clear what prompted the attack.

A member of the rival clan, 22-year-old Hazem Karouah, 22, was killed several hours later, as was 75-year-old Ismail Sabah, who was caught in the line of fire. Later on Saturday, 27-year-old Ghada Karouah died of gunshot wounds.

Thirty-seven people were wounded, including four who were in critical condition, hospital officials said.

The two factions did not openly blame each other. However, government spokesman Ghazi Hamad of Hamas said some groups were "trying to revive the internal conflict through acts of aggression."

Talal Okal, a Palestinian commentator, said that the family feuds "are part of the rubble left over from the fighting." However, he said he expected Hamas and Fatah to try to suppress revenge attacks in order not the endanger the power-sharing agreement.

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