Coordinated blasts target Fatah officials in Gaza
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Coordinated blasts target Fatah officials in Gaza

Explosions come during heightened tensions with Hamas; reports emerge of Islamic State threats

Head of the Hamas government Ismail Haniyeh (right) and senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad (left) attend a news conference as they announce a reconciliation agreement in Gaza, on April 23, 2014. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Head of the Hamas government Ismail Haniyeh (right) and senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad (left) attend a news conference as they announce a reconciliation agreement in Gaza, on April 23, 2014. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

GAZA CITY — A series of coordinated explosions targeted the homes of several leaders of President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party in the Gaza Strip early Friday, a party official said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the explosions occurred at a time of rising tensions with the rival Hamas movement.

Fayez Abu Itta, a Fatah leader in Gaza’s Jabaliya refugee camp, said no one was hurt in the near-simultaneous attacks. He said his car was destroyed and the homes and cars of two other Fatah officials in Gaza City were also damaged.

Hamas seized control of Gaza from Fatah in 2007. The rival parties have recently pledged to reconcile, but there are still deep differences.

Fatah officials in Gaza are planning on commemorating the death of party founder Yasser Arafat on November 11 for the first time since 2007.

During the previous commemoration, which took place shortly after the Hamas takeover that year, at least 10 people were killed in clashes between the rival sides, and Hamas activists have spoken out against this year’s event. A prominent Fatah blog said the stage for the ceremony was also hit by a blast, though the report could not be immediately confirmed.

Abu Itta refused to speculate on who was behind the blasts, saying the incident was under investigation. Unconfirmed reports blamed the Islamic State for the attacks, and photographs emerged purporting to show an IS warning letter sent to Fatah officials.

The Israeli military said it was unaware of the incident.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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