Gaza mourns victims of unknown assailants
It began at about 7am: Continous machine gun banter,, dozens of rounds in a row, and only one street down from our house. More infighting, we assumed, or maybe disgruntled security forces. But it didn't stop. We opened the local radio and learned that 3 children had been killed-sons of an intelligence official, Colonel Baha Balousha, loyal to Mahmoud Abbas's Fateh party.
They were shot dead in a car outside their school in Gaza on Monday, spilling pools of blood along the street.
Balousha, along with Mohammad Dahalan, is known as one of the figures involved in a then Fateh-run PA crackdown against and torture of Hamas members a decade ago, and he has been at odds with Hamas for some time. Hamas denied responsiblity and called the crime gruesome.
Fatah supporters blocked off main roads in the city with burning tyres, and others called for a general strike, shooting at stores who refused to close shop.
They stormed the parliment and called for the Hamas-run government's immediate resignation, shooting wildly into the air throughout the city and making scathing insults against Hamas leaders.
Tensions were running very high and threatened to spill over into the streets-everybody wanted someone to blame and for Fateh, that someone was Hamas.
Hamas withdrew its forces to avoid confronation, and later at night in a show of solidarity, representatives of all the factions, including Hamas, joined forces with Fateh in a candelight vigil against violence and criminality in front of the father's house.
Everyone is mourning and searching for answers and of course for the assailants. No one can comprehend who would commit such a brutal act-which people seem to think was intentional (the targetting of the children) given the time and location. Others say the intended target wasthe father. But mostly, everybody wants a solution.
Today's sad events have triggered widespread fear and uncertainty. The tension is palpable in the air and threatens to boil over at any time. As the florist down the street told me, "I used to say before I was afraid of what is coming. But now, I am REALLy afraid. No body knows what's going to happen next."