| Palestinian parliament member Jihad Abu Znaid (centre) reacts as Fatah militants take over the parliament building in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AP)
Ramallah (West Bank), June 16 (AP): Hundreds of Fatah gunmen today stormed Hamas-controlled institutions in the West Bank, including parliament and government ministries, and told staffers that those with ties to Hamas will not be allowed to return.
At the parliament, the Fatah supporters chanted, “Hamas Out,” climbed on the roof of the building and fired in the air. They planted Fatah and Palestinian flags on the building. They also tried to seize the deputy speaker, but were stopped by employees. The gunmen planted Fatah flags and Palestinian banners on the buildings they had taken over.
Many government employees tied to Hamas had not showed up for work today, the start of the work week in the West Bank, after Hamas took control of Gaza in a military campaign. Apparently, the staffers feared reprisals.
A member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a violent offshoot of Fatah, said his group planned to take control of all Hamas institutions, in response to Hamas’ takeover of Gaza.
At the parliament building, Fatah gunmen entered the office of deputy speaker Hassan Kreisheh and tried to grab him, but Fatah employees stopped them. Other Fatah activists took over the education ministry and the Prime Minister’s office.
In the West Bank city of Nablus, Fatah gunmen took over the Hamas-controlled city council.
In the West Bank city of Hebron, Fatah gunmen took over offices of the education ministry and the interior ministry, warning Hamas-allied employees not to return to work, Al Aqsa members said.
In Gaza, Hamas gunmen trying to round up weapons of opponents exchanged fire with members of a powerful clan in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis.