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Friday, August 14, 2009

Hamas battles "radical" faction in Rafah (UPDATES)

There is a virtual curfew in Rafah today as Hamas battled members of the Jund al-Ansar Allah Salafist faction over control of a mosque. 15 were injured so far. YNet reports at least 3 killed and mortar fire from both sides.

Hamas banned journalists and photographers from the area of the mosuqe and set up roadblocks and checkpoints.

The leader of the Salafist group,
Dr. Sheikh / Abdul Latif Bin Khalid Al-Musa, was holed up in the mosque. He declared in his sermon today that he intended to turn Gaza into an Islamic emirate.

The two groups clashed a few weeks ago as well. Jund Ansar Allah say they are inspired by Al Qaeda.

The 2009 PalArab self-death count mounts...now at 141. (A 14-year old was axed to death today as well.)

UPDATE: 6 dead, 144.

UPDATE 2: 8 dead, including a girl. 146.

UPDATE 3: Ma'an has a bulletin that Hamas has blown up the home of the leader of the Salafist group. Will we be getting a 67-page report from Human Rights Watch about this horrendous crime? You know, with all the keywords like collective punishment, impeding freedom of religion, disproportionate force, shooting at houses of worship, distinction between civilians and militants...

UPDATE 4: 13 dead. 151. Qaeda guys might have done a suicide attack against Hamas! How's that for irony?

UPDATE 5.5: Palestine Press Agency says 16 dead, over 100 wounded. 154. Palestine Today says that it is expected that the toll will go over 20 and that the leader of the group was killed. PalPress disagrees, saying the leader escaped in a tunnel connected to the mosque.