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The Murder of Yasser Arafat: "Powerful" - The Times of London

Friday, 15 June 2007

The day terror won

Hamas overruns the Gaza Strip

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, June 15th 2007

By MATTHEW KALMAN in Jerusalem
and CORKY SIEMASZKO in New York
DAILY NEWS WRITERS

Israel has a radical Islamic state sitting on its doorstep.

Hamas militants seized control of the Gaza Strip yesterday and deposed
the Palestinian political party that recognizes the Jewish state - and
then proceeded to shoot vanquished Fatah Party fighters in the street
like dogs.

"The era of justice and Islamic rule have arrived," Islam Shahawan, a
spokesman for Hamas' militia, told Hamas radio.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared a state of emergency and
dissolved his coalition government, firing the Hamas Prime Minister
Ismail Haniyeh. But Hamas just laughed.

"Hamas rejects the Abbas decision," senior Hamas official Sami Abu
Zuhri said. "In practical terms these decisions are worthless."

Nizar Rayan, another prominent Hamas official, called on "Abbas' army
of prostitutes to surrender or else they will be executed in public."

By nightfall, green Hamas flags were flying from the rooftops of the
presidential compound and other Palestinian Authority bastions while
Hamas fighters boasted they had "executed" Samih al-Madhoun, a close
ally of Abbas' top security aide.

Other Fatah fighters loyal to Abbas were marched half-naked from the
hated Preventive Security Service complex in Gaza City. Witnesses
reported that some were later executed gangland-style by masked Hamas
militiamen. "This is a real coup against the Palestinian Authority,"
said Nabil Amr, a top Abbas aide.

Unable and unwilling to intervene, the Israelis watched with growing
despair as Hamas - bankrolled by Iran and bent on destroying the
Jewish state - took over a territory they had just turned over to the
Palestinian Authority in 2005.

"Hamas has to stop terrorizing the Palestinian people," White House
spokesman Tony Snow said.

Secretary of State Rice telephoned Abbas in the West Bank but could do
little more than voice her support for the beleaguered Palestinian
leader.

Meanwhile, there was mayhem in Gaza City as Hamas murdered Fatah men -
sometimes while the victims' wives and children looked on, witnesses
said.

"They are executing them one by one," a witness who gave his name as
Amjad told The Associated Press. "They are carrying one of them on
their shoulders, putting him on a sand dune, turning him around and
shooting."

Abbas, who had been banking on his far more numerous Fatah fighters to
hold off Hamas, ordered his elite presidential guard to strike back.
But the order came too late.

His forces were already routed by the better-armed and
better-disciplined Hamas fighters. The death toll was at least 80 and
expected to climb.

Fatah and Hamas have battled sporadically since Hamas shocked the
world last year by winning the parliamentary elections. The latest
round of violence started on Sunday and exploded into a full-fledged
war yesterday.

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