Unidentified Assailants Torch Car of Fatah Official in Gaza

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Published Monday, February 16, 2015

Unidentified assailants set fire to the car of a Fatah official in the central Gaza Strip late Sunday, Fatah sources said.

Officials told Ma'an news agency that the attackers poured flammable liquid on the car of Abed al-Munim Ramadan Tahrawi before setting it ablaze and fleeing the scene.

The car was parked in the western quarter of Nuseirat refugee camp.

Police in Gaza have opened an investigation into the incident.

Earlier on Sunday, arsonists in Jabaliya in northern Gaza set fire to a car belonging to a senior official in the interior ministry of the former Hamas-run government.

Recent months have been plagued by tension and controversy between the Fatah and Hamas, with a series of explosions targeting Fatah and Hamas leaders’ properties.

In January, the car of Fatah official Adil Udeid was set on fire in Gaza after flammable liquid was poured on the vehicle, which was parked in front of the official's home.

Unidentified assailants also blew up a car belonging to Fatah leader Ahmed Alwan in Gaza City as well as a car belonging to a security officer of the former Hamas-run government.

Although the leading Palestinian political parties signed a unity government in April that ended seven years of political division, the government has yet to take full control in the besieged Gaza Strip, which is dominated by Hamas.

Critics say Israel has repeatedly sought to undermine the deal including through a massive arrest campaign targeting Hamas members across the occupied West Bank over the summer as well as the seven-week aggression on Gaza.

For 51 days this summer, Israel pounded the Gaza Strip — by air, land and sea — claiming, among other things, that it wanted to stop rocket fire from the coastal enclave.

The Israeli offensive ended on August 26 with an Egypt-brokered ceasefire deal.

More than 2,310 Gazans, 70 percent of them civilians, were killed and 10,626 injured during unrelenting Israeli attacks on the besieged strip this summer.

The besieged enclave has also seen widespread destruction of its infrastructure, reaching levels of devastation that UN chief Ban Ki-moon called “beyond description” in a visit to the Strip on October 14.

In the Gaza Strip, there has been growing anger over the unity government's failure to pressure Israel to fulfill its promises in the August ceasefire deal to allow reconstruction material into the war-ravaged enclave.

A Fatah official said last week that a PLO delegation was to head to Gaza soon in order to work on implementing potential "solutions" to the reconstruction crisis.

Moreover, Hamas and Fatah have also yet to agree on a solution to pay employees of the former Hamas-run government in the Strip who have been without salaries for months.

The political division between Fatah and Hamas began in 2007, a year after Hamas won legislative elections in Gaza but was subjected to a boycott by Israel and Western countries that left the economy in a fragile state.

(Ma’an, Al-Akhbar)

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