Gaza Oppressed by Spate of Violence

Violence has erupted between Palestinian factions this week, a situation that helped lead to the resignation of the interior minister Monday. Ahmed Abu Hamda, a news producer in Gaza City says things have gotten so bad that people are afraid to leave their homes.

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ANDREA SEABROOK, host:

A third day of fierce attacks in Gaza seemed to threaten the fragile Palestinian government today. By the end of the day, there was an announcement of another new cease-fire.

Earlier today, rival militias for Hamas and Fatah were battling at a security checkpoint along the Israeli border. And yesterday, the Palestinian interior minister resigned saying he's been unable to control the armed forces.

Ahmed Abu Hamda is a news producer in Gaza City. I spoke with him earlier today and asked him to describe the scene on the streets in Gaza.

Mr. AHMED ABU HAMDA (News Producer, Gaza City): You can call it a ghost city now because the streets are empty. People - only militants that's what you see, and shops are closed, everything is death. All what you can see is militants or what you can hear is death shooting.

SEABROOK: Can you tell us what happened in this attack today, the most recent attack?

Mr. HAMDA: Well, today morning, the Karni Terminal, which is trading or importing and exporting terminal, was attacked by some members of Hamas. One member of Hamas was killed and seven at that moment were killed from the National - Palestinian National Security. And what happened exactly that when Hamas member attacked those people in the terminal. They were shooting at them. They started (Unintelligible) with some rockets - cut some of them and so on.

So Israelis in the backside thought that the Palestinians are attacking them. So they started shooting from the other side too. So these National Security Forces members were trapped in the middle, between Hamas militias and the Israeli forces. Unfortunately, even one Palestinian officer was killed by Israelis thinking that he is shooting at them.

They knocked off some communications between the Palestinians and the Israeli forces. Israelis stopped shooting at the national security members, a nd the clashes between Hamas militias and Palestinian forces was there for almost one hour, one and a half hour. (Unintelligible) was killed by Hamas today were 10 soldiers from the national security were killed by Hamas.

SEABROOK: And one from Fatah. The interior minister who resigned yesterday, he said because he's never been given the necessary power to try and control Hamas and Fatah, their militias. Is the Palestinian unity government in a state of collapse now?

Mr. HAMDA: It looks like that. Actually, even if it's not the security clash, it's the economical siege, it's also forcing for the collapse or directing to the collapse of the unity government. Even though if we did not have those clashes during the last few days and in the coming days, I think the Palestinian unity government, it will not be able to continue for more two or three months. It will collapse within this siege.

SEABROOK: It's only three months old?

Mr. HAMDA: Yeah. Yeah. I know. But it was suffering economically for one year before. And now, they are continuing to suffer. Imagine the whole employees they're not receiving their salaries, total bad economical situation of the country, policies from the international community. What do you expect from this unity government to do?

SEABROOK: And now...

Mr. HAMDA: How will it survive without money?

SEABROOK: What happens if it does collapse, what happens then?

Mr. HAMDA: I don't want to imagine that. I mean, with a unity government, we are having such a disaster here in this - in the area from security now, from bad situation for the citizens, civilians, especially civilians. So what do you think what would happen if it will collapse? It will be a total mess, not only for the Palestinians, for their neighbor, Israelis, too.

SEABROOK: Thank you for speaking with us, sir.

Mr. HAMDA: You're welcome.

SEABROOK: Ahmed Abu Hamda is a news producer in Gaza City.

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