Rival Palestinian factions clash in Gaza, one dead

177.jpgGAZA, June 7 (Reuters) – Palestinian gunmen from the dominant Islamist Hamas faction killed a member of rival Fatah on Thursday, witnesses and hospital officials said, in the worst flare-up of street fighting in almost three weeks.  

Fatah said the clash in the southern town of Rafah erupted when Hamas gunmen confronted one of its local leaders at his home. The man’s brother was killed and five other Palestinians wounded, all of them from Fatah, hospital officials said. 

Hamas confirmed that a skirmish had taken place but said its men opened fire after being shot at by Fatah gunmen. 

Thursday’s death was the first since an Egyptian-brokered truce took hold on May 18 after a wave of factional fighting that killed some 50 Palestinians. A Palestinian was wounded in a Fatah-Hamas clash near Gaza’s Karni border crossing on Tuesday. 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said this week that the internal strife, which underscored ideological differences on whether and how to wage peace talks with Israel, risked spilling over into civil war.

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