A local source in Gaza city reported on Wednesday, that fighters of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fateh, broke into the movements’ headquarters in Gaza, and fired rounds of live ammunition, three residents were reportedly injured.
The gunmen took positions on the building’s rooftops, balconies and around the building.
Palestinian security men managed to gain control on the building later on, and contained the situation.
Also, Palestinian policemen took up positions at other nearby buildings that could be targeted, including Abbas’ office and residence.
Abu Mohammad, a spokesperson of the brigades reported that the military wing demands that the Fateh primaries should be valid, and not voided, and that if they were not approved the wing and its wide supporters, will not approve the Fateh election list of candidates for the Palestinian Legislative Council.
The attack was carried out several hours after the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, announced the names of candidates who will represent Fateh in the Legislative Council elections scheduled for January 25, 2006.
The movement held a meeting, on Tuesday at night, headed by Abbas, and approved some modifications on the candidates list, but this modification was not capable of containing the crises in the movement, and its military wing.
In recent weeks, Abbas held primaries in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in order to decide the candidates who would represent the movement in the elections. But, and after dispute and several acts of violence, he decided to cancel the results of the primaries in some areas – including Gaza.
Gunmen burnt the ballot boxes, in Gaza, and conducted other election violations. Abbas said he would appoint candidates in those areas.
Abu Mohammad threatened that the Brigades will escalate the retaliation in the Gaza Strip, and called on the movement’s leadership to resort to democracy in choosing the candidates.
“If the situation continue as it is, it will escalate and lead to confrontation with the Central Committee”, he added.
Meanwhile, the jailed Palestinian Legislator and Fateh leader, Marwan Barghouthi, threatened to quit Fateh movement over a dispute with the movement’s older generation leadership about the list of candidates for the Legislative elections.
Barghouthi is considered the leader of Fateh “Young Guard”, and is widely supported by movement members and a decision to quit the movement could be a sharp blow to the movement which is suffering internal crises, and facing a tough challenge with Hamas.
On May 20, 2005, Barghouthi was sentenced by the Israeli Central Court in Tel Aviv, to five life-term and additional 40 years after holding him responsible for the military activities of the Al Aqsa Martyrs brigades.