Two killed as warring Fatah factions clash

Special to World
Monday, September 22, 2003

RAMALLAH Insurgents from the ruling Fatah movement in the West Bank have clashed and two of them were killed.

The clash took place between two rival wings of the Fatah-dominated Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. Gunmen opened fire toward each other during Saturday's shootout in Tulkarm.

The casualty was identified as the commander of Al Aqsa in Tulkarm. Saleh Nasser, 30, was killed by his deputy, Fida Tirawi, 27, in what appeared to be an assassination attempt.

Palestinian sources said Tirawi fired his semi-automatic machine gun toward Nasser in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarm. Before he collapsed, Nasser managed to fire his gun and injure Tirawi.

Nasser died and Tirawi was taken to a local hospital. But the sources said Nasser loyalists burst into Tirawi's hospital room and killed him.

The sources said the killing appeared to be part of a long-standing power struggle in Tulkarm between Fatah militia leaders. The struggle has been over funding for insurgency operations funneled by Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat and other sources, such as Iran.

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