Hamas fighters took over a number of Fatah bases in the northern Gaza Strip, bringing recent intra-Palestinian violence to new heights. Hamas declared northern and central Gaza a “closed military zone” on Tuesday after a weekend of urban warfare that killed at least 20 Palestinians. In response to the Hamas assault, Fatah gunmen abducted a deputy Cabinet minister from Hamas, the Jerusalem Post reported. Fighting between Palestinian factions has escalated dramatically in recent days. Earlier Tuesday, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh of Hamas was attacked along with his family when rocket-propelled grenades were fired at their house. On Sunday, a Hamas member and a Fatah operative were killed when they were handcuffed and thrown off high-rises.The latest clashes, some of which took place in government buildings and hospitals, blew apart the most recent Hamas-Fatah truce efforts. Israel voiced concern that Gazan factions could step up cross-border rocket strikes in a bid to draw retaliation that would unite the Palestinian ranks. “With all the internal battles in the Gaza Strip and the ceaseless killing among the Palestinian people, which from our perspective is an internal Palestinian matter, let none of them dare direct the fire at us to resolve their internal problems,” Defense Minister Amir Peretz told reporters.
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