Israel Resource Review 23rd December, 2006


Middle East News Line

Major Palestinian clans have been participating in the Fatah-Hamas war.

The clans include families involved in arms smuggling and property deals in the central and southern Gaza Strip. Clan members were said to have fought for both Fatah and Hamas.

Palestinian sources identified some of the clans as Abu Taha and Dughmosh. They said many of the clan members have been employed by the Palestinian Authority.

On Friday, Fatah and Hamas resumed gun battles in Gaza City. The fighting, which shattered two days of relative calm, erupted when Hamas operatives who belonged to a major clan raided a Fatah stronghold in an attempt to free two members of the ruling Islamic movement. The attackers were identified as coming from the Al Lali family.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights has tracked the involvement of clans in the militia war. On December 20, the center detailed a clash earlier that day in Gaza City between Fatah and Hamas.

The battle began when the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry's Executive Force sought to arrest a Fatah gunman. The Executive Force and Fatah engaged in a two hour shootout in which two people were killed.

Both casualties were identified as members of the Dughmosh clan. PCHR identified them as Mahmoud Mansour Dughmosh, 25; and Ashraf Dughmosh, 25.

The Dughmosh clan has been described as one of the most active clans in the Gaza Strip. Dughmosh was said to control much of the tunnel smuggling industry in Rafah.

Israel has been quietly supporting Fatah in the militia war. Palestinian sources said PA officers aligned with Fatah and injured by Hamas fire were treated in an Israeli hospital. The sources said the PA officers feared being hospitalized in the Gaza Strip because of the prospect of Hamas retaliation.

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