PRAYER GROUPS CLASH IN IMAGINATIONLAND
A bit of biffo in Gaza with Hamas taking on al Qaeda allied rival Jund Ansar Allah:
The confrontation was triggered when the leader of the group defied Gaza's Hamas rulers by declaring in a Friday prayer sermon that the territory was an Islamic emirate.Hamas leader Ismail Haniya was in deny-there's-a-problem-but-blame-Israel-anyway mode:
"No such groups exist on the ground in Gaza," he said at prayers in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya. He blamed the "Israeli media for spreading this information with a view to turning the world against Gaza."But just in case anyone's actually paying attention:
During his own Friday sermon, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, dismissed Mr Moussa's comments.The imaginary clash with the nonexistent group produced real casualties:
"These declarations [of an Islamic emirate] are aimed towards incitement against the Gaza Strip and an attempt at recruiting an international alliance against the Gaza Strip.
"And we warn those who are behind these Israeli Zionist declarations: the Gaza Strip only contains its people."
Hamas police stormed a mosque in Gaza on Friday where radicals had declared an Islamist "emirate," sparking clashes that left 13 people dead and injured at least 100, emergency services said.The assault that didn't happen also involved rocket propelled grenades and dynamite. Palestinians obviously have vivid imaginations.
Shooting continued after dark, witnesses said, after clashes began in the afternoon following weekly prayers in the southern city of Rafah, which straddles the Egyptian border.
Among the dead was Mohammed al-Shamali, head of the Hamas military unit for southern Gaza, emergency services said, adding that bodies of some other victims could not be reached because of the intensity of the fighting.
Twenty of the wounded were said to be in serious condition as the confrontation developed into one of the most violent incidents in Gaza since Israel's 22-day onslaught on the impoverished enclave in December and January.
An Egyptian security official said a three-year-old boy was critically wounded by a bullet from the fighting across the border.