Monday, August 4, 2008

Fatah orders its fleeing fighters back to Gaza

Almost 200 fighters in Gaza who are loyal to the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have been ordered to return to the territory after they fled over the border into Israel to escape from their Hamas rivals.

"Dozens of the men returned after their midnight flit only to be arrested by Hamas security forces.

In unprecedented scenes late on Saturday, Israel initially allowed in 182 men, all of them members of Fatah and mostly members of the militant Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed group that has launched attacks on Israelis.

It came after eleven people died in the worst factional clashes between Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since the Islamist movement Hamas seized control of the territory in June last year.

Israeli commanders manning the perimeter fence said they took a spur of the moment decision to allow the Fatah men into Israel although for security reasons the men were blindfolded and stripped to their underwear......."

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