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Monday, October 03, 2005
  Countdown to open civil war: 3,2,1
Palestinian Police and Hamas Battle in the Streets of Gaza - New York Times: "JERUSALEM, Oct. 2 - Palestinian police officers and Hamas gunmen waged running gun battles on Sunday night in Gaza City. The shooting began when the police tried to confiscate illegal weapons.

At least two Palestinians were killed, including one policeman, and about 40 people were wounded in the fighting, the worst internal Palestinian violence since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip last month.

Last week, the Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, began enforcing a prohibition against militants carrying weapons in public in Gaza.

But when police officers stopped a car carrying Hamas members on Sunday evening, shooting erupted and spread through two neighborhoods in Gaza City that are known as Hamas strongholds, witnesses and the Palestinian security forces said.

One of the Hamas members in the car was Muhammad Rantisi, the son of Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a senior Hamas leader who was killed in an Israeli missile strike last year.

There were conflicting reports about whether Muhammad Rantisi was detained, but as word of the confrontation spread, so did the shooting, first in the Sheik Radwan neighborhood, where the initial incident took place, then the nearby Beach refugee camp. Numerous gunmen fired at a number of police stations.

The casualties filled the emergency room at Shifa Hospital, the city's main hospital. The wounded included police officers and Hamas militants, the hospital said.

'Hamas bears full responsibility for the result of these acts and the serious violation of law and order and playing with the blood of our people,' the Palestinian Interior Ministry said in a statement."
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