Fighting between Palestinian factions is worse than ever and can produce no winner, a senior Palestinian official said Tuesday.
Saeb Erakat spoke as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held emergency meetings and weighed options, including pulling out of the unity government of Fatah and Hamas leaders.
Abbas on Tuesday urged both sides to adhere to an immediate truce, according to a statement from his office.
"In my capacity as head of the Palestinian Authority and supreme leader of all our security and military forces, I call for an immediate cease-fire and for ... talks to end all violence and infighting," the official WAFA news agency quoted Abbas as saying.
But around the same time, an announcement on Fatah radio called on fighters to confront Hamas militants.
Broadcasts from Hamas fighters urged their Fatah foes to abandon their posts or face death.
A short time later, hundreds of Hamas gunmen surrounded a Fatah base in northern Gaza near the Jabalya refugee camp and launched an attack, Palestinian security sources said.
The commander of the Hamas' Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades was killed in the fighting, the sources said.
UPDATE -- June 13: From CNN: Hamas bombs, declares control over Fatah compound.
Hamas militants killed at least 11 members of the rival Fatah faction Wednesday after setting off explosives in a tunnel beneath a security compound in southern Gaza, Palestinian security sources said.
Fatah's Preventive Security headquarters in Khan Yunis is now under Hamas control, the sources said.
The blast came after Hamas' military wing, Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, announced it had taken over northern Gaza and turned the region into a "closed military area."
Izzedine al-Qassam, which made its announcement late Tuesday over mosque loudspeakers across the region, called on residents to hand over their weapons to the militant group by 7 p.m. (noon ET) Friday.
The "closed military area" over which Hamas has asserted control includes all villages and towns north of Gaza City, including Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahya and the Jabalya refugee camp.
Posted by Forkum at June 12, 2007 03:22 PM