Hamas security forces on Saturday evening attacked members and leaders of the rival Fatah faction who came to offer condolences over the death of Mohammed Ayoub, 14, in clashes Friday between Palestinian demonstrators and IDF soldiers along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
The attack came after a verbal altercation erupted between Hamas and Fatah members at the tent in Gaza City, set up by the Ayoub family to receive condolence calls over the death of their son.
Hamas security officers later dismantled the tent and ordered all those present to leave immediately, a source in the Gaza Strip said.
A senior Fatah operative, Abed Al Majdalawi, was lightly injured during the Hamas raid, the source added.
It was not immediately clear what had triggered the verbal altercation between the representatives of the two rival parties. However, such confrontations have become commonplace in various parts of the Gaza Strip since Hamas violently seized control of the coastal enclave more than 10 years ago.
Sources close to Hamas accused Fatah of seeking to exploit the death of the boy “to score political points.” The sources claimed that Fatah activists who came to offer condolences over the death of the boy tried to convince his family to make statements in support of Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Atef Abu Seif, a spokesperson for Fatah in the West Bank, condemned what he called the Hamas “assault” on the Ayoub family’s mourning tent.
The “assault,” he said, “contravened all traditions of national work and was in violation of Palestinian national values.
“Fatah had the honor of sacrificing three martyrs last Friday,” Abu Seif continued. “We condemn what Hamas did against the family of martyr Mohammed Ayoub and call on all Palestinian factions to assume their responsibilities in order to put an end to these irresponsible actions.”