Violence Brings Palestinians to Brink of Civil War

By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2007 7:50 AM CDT
Violence erupted in the Gaza Strip four days ago. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – Violence between the Hamas and Fatah factions has brought the Palestinian territories to the brink of civil war, a situation that now directly involves Israel, which launched air strikes on Gaza today. Earlier, Hamas gunmen killed at least five guards as they attacked the home of a Fatah security chief. At least 40 people have died in Gaza since Friday.

The Israeli strike, on a Hamas building in Rafah, killed at least four. The violence threatens the survival of the two-month-old unity government made up of president Mahmoud Abbas' secular Fatah faction and the Islamists of Hamas. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak says both sides must stop the killing; the ceasefire Egypt brokered on Sunday has since fallen apart.