GAZA (Reuters) -Hamas security men shot towards protesters who hurled rocks at them in the Gaza Strip on Friday in the biggest protest against the Islamist group since it seized control of the territory in June.
No injuries were reported in the confrontation between members of supporters of President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah group and Hamas’s Executive Force that has taken on policing duties in the area.
“Jihad, jihad! (Holy war),” demonstrators chanted as they marched down the streets of Gaza City, applauding as others smashed an unmanned Hamas security post on the roadside.
Dozens of protesters threw rocks at a security post the Executive Force commandeered during the brief civil war against Fatah fighters two months ago.
Witnesses said Hamas security men opened fire in response, peppering a storefront with bullets. Hamas officials had no immediate comment.
“The events today are a clear sign that Fatah did not vanish with the Hamas coup,” a Fatah official told Reuters. “People are against Hamas suppression of Fatah. Hamas thought it can eliminate Fatah — they are wrong. Fatah is rising again.”
Drivers honked car horns, and protesters waving yellow Fatah flags climbed on top of vehicles during the demonstration that followed outdoor Muslim prayers held by Abbas supporters.
Hamas security men detained three journalists, including a photographer from French news agency Agence France-Presse, witnesses said. They also smashed a journalist’s television camera and roughed up and threatened a Reuters photographer.
“They were beating me from behind, not heavily,” said Reuters photographer Abed-Rabbo Shana, adding that a Hamas gunmen pointed his rifle at his legs and threatened to fire.
“Journalists intervened and also Fatah youth … giving me a way to escape,” he said.