(Gaza Strip : Ucs News International) Hamas militants completed their rout of Fatah today, claiming control over the war torn Palestinian territory. Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister them declared “Once our rivals have all been killed the people of Palestine can once again enjoy free and fair elections.”
Fighting between rival Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip broke out Monday and has left more than 90 dead. The heavy fighting has put Hamas, the Islamist movement, apparently in control of the territory after ousting the largely secular, U.S.-backed Fatah.
The destruction of Fatah and capture of Gaza is a huge setback to the U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. According to White House officials the call for fresh elections in Gaza is a “positive development” but any hopes for a lasting peace settlement were “pretty much blasted away.”
Hamas officials stated that once Fatah was crushed in the West Bank the Islamist militants would be selecting a new Prime Minister to carry the fight for freedom forward. According to a Hamas commander “With Fatah out of our way we can lay-down our arms and start meaningful negotiations with Israel.