Hamas gunmen were back at major Gaza intersections The Hamas-led government has sent its private militia back into the streets of Gaza, a day after withdrawing the force to help calm an increasingly bloody standoff with forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, the president. Hamas officials on Saturday said the move was not meant as a provocation. But Abbas’ Fatah movement said the deployment risked igniting new violence. The 3,000-strong Hamas militia has been at the centre of the Palestinian infighting. Hamas’ decision to withdraw the black-clad force on Friday, which was banned by Abbas, was widely seen as a conciliatory gesture. Youssef Zahar, spokesman for the militia, said Saturday’s deployment did not contradict the previous day’s decision. At the time, Hamas said the force would remain on standby at fixed locations and resume limited patrols in the future. ‘The police stations are closed to us, so we’re making use of some streets,’ Zahar said. The Gaza Strip has been plagued by armed chaos and lawlessness since the Israeli army cracked down and destroyed much of the Palestinians security infrastructures in retaliation for the Palestinian uprising Israel did withdraw from the Gaza […]

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