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THE WORLD : World Briefing / MIDDLE EAST

No asylum for fleeing Gaza fighters

August 04, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refused to grant West Bank asylum to forces who fled weekend factional fighting in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, despite fears for their safety.

Abbas ordered nearly 200 fighters back to Gaza from Israel, insisting that Fatah must retain a presence in the territory, which has been controlled by Hamas since a violent takeover in June 2007.

Hamas confirmed that it detained the first group of 32 who were sent back, but said it later released all but five of them.

On Saturday, 11 people were killed and dozens wounded during a Hamas raid on a Fatah stronghold in Gaza City.

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