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Group Protesting Violence Draws Fire in Gaza Strip

Palestinian civilians leave the area during clashes between Hamas and Fatah militants in Gaza City. Hamas' military wing has asked fighters and security men loyal to Fatah to give up their weapons as it pushes an offensive against its rival.
Abid Katib
/
Getty Images
Palestinian civilians leave the area during clashes between Hamas and Fatah militants in Gaza City. Hamas' military wing has asked fighters and security men loyal to Fatah to give up their weapons as it pushes an offensive against its rival.

Hamas militants appear to be gaining the upper hand in the fight against gunmen from the rival Fatah movement in the Gaza Strip. There is now no talk of a cease-fire, and the "unity" government has collapsed. A group of Palestinians staging a protest against the fighting Wednesday came under fire almost immediately.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says the bloodshed between rival factions Fatah and Hamas is "madness." But the fighting goes on, with at least 69 Palestinians killed since the latest round of fighting began over the weekend.

On the ground, the Islamist militants of Hamas continued to make gains. And in Gaza City, a civilian street demonstration against the violence was attacked.

Several hundred distraught and angry civilians marched through the center of Gaza City on Wednesday, shouting "Stop the killing." Several women held a large banner that read, "To our decision makers: History will judge you and generations will not forgive you."

More and more Palestinians are calling the escalating clashes civil war.

"The gunmen want to destroy the culture of our fathers and grandfathers," said a 16-year-old girl, who gave her name only as Hahla. "We will not allow them to do this.

"I'm saying it's enough killing, enough! What are they fighting for? They're fighting over this broken chair, and neither side deserves this broken chair. If neither side can solve their problems, let them go to hell!"

The protest was dominated by Fatah supporters. But several clan leaders attended, along with militants from Islamic Jihad and several other smaller factions.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eric Westervelt
Eric Westervelt is a San Francisco-based correspondent for NPR's National Desk. He has reported on major events for the network from wars and revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa to historic wildfires and terrorist attacks in the U.S.
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