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Monday, April 7, 2008       Free Headline Alerts

Hamas renews war with major Palestinian clan

GAZA CITY — The Hamas regime has rejoined its battle against a leading Palestinian clan in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian sources said Hamas security forces have renewed attacks on the Dughmoush clan, based in Gaza City. The clan, with a following of nearly 15,000, has been regarded as the largest anti-Hamas group in the region.

"Dughmoush kept a low profile in late 2007, but now feels sufficiently confident to resume its criminal operations," a Palestinian source familiar with the clan said.

On April 5, Hamas police sent officers to break up a Dughmoush criminal cell. The officers went to the home of an unidentified Dughmoush clan member in Tel El Hawa outside Gaza City.

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The four-man police squad saw the Dughmoush target and gave chase. Dughmoush gunmen opened fire and a Hamas police officer, identified as 24-year-old Hamid Hamed El Sakani, was injured.

The other Hamas officers returned fire. Later that day, the suspect was arrested.

The sources said the Dughmoush clan has been involved in running drugs, car theft and racketeering around Gaza City and northern Gaza. They said after a lull in mid-2007 tension has also resumed between Dughmoush and rival clans in Gaza City.

The clan, led by Mumtaz Dughmoush, has been identified with the Fatah opposition movement since 2006. Over the last six months, the sources said, Dughmoush sought to recruit other clans against the Hamas regime.

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