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Rival Palestinian leaders condemn 'massacre' in Beit Hanoun

April 28, 2008 12:04 P.M. (Updated: April 28, 2008 12:04 P.M.)
Ramallah - Ma'an - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned what he called "Israeli aggression" in the town of Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip on Monday.

Israeli tank fire killed seven Palestinians including a mother and her four young children in Beit Hanoun on Monday morning.

"This assault does not serve the efforts to reach a ceasefire, and it impedes the peace process," Abbas said. He reaffirmed his support for a ceasefire in order to save the Palestinian people from more killing.

In the same regard, the de facto Prime Minister of the Gaza Strip, Isma'il Haniyeh, condemned the Israeli attack, calling it a massacre. He said, "This reflects the real face of the Israeli occupiers and their frequent attempts to frustrate any regional or international efforts to end the embargo imposed on the Gaza Strip and to halt hostilities."

"Such criminal acts, those that came before, and those still to come will not break the Palestinian people's will and insistence on their inalienable rights, including freedom and independence," Haniyeh said in a statement.

Mustafa Barghouthi, the former Palestinian Minister of Information and the Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, called the killings "a sickening tragedy."

"The killing of innocent women and children in their homes is one of the most shocking consequences of the siege and attacks on the Gaza Strip, which the Israeli government is carrying out under the pretext of security," said Barghouthi. "But tell me who is safer now that Khadra Abu Moatiq and her four young children are dead?"

Haniyeh's Hamas movement rules the Gaza Strip, while Abbas' Fatah faction holds power in the West Bank. Abbas dismissed Haniyeh and a Hamas-Fatah unity government last June after Hamas took control of Gaza.
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