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Hamas leader abducted on tape as clashes continue

Story Highlights

• Fatah party, Hamas continue fighting for third day
• Hamas leader's abduction is caught on camera
• Death toll is 25, including bystander and 11-year-old
• Leaders of both parties appeal for calm
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GAZA CITY (CNN) -- In the third consecutive day of violence between Hamas and Fatah, security sources said gunmen tried to kill the bodyguard of a top aide to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, and a top Hamas figure was kidnapped in front of a video news crew.

The fighting killed 25 Palestinians, including a bystander and an 11-year-old boy in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza, security sources said.

Five of the deaths occurred over Saturday night.

West Bank Hamas leader Fayyad al-Arba was at a bank Sunday in Nablus when gunmen with the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- the armed wing of Fatah -- walked up a flight of stairs to the entrance, pointed their guns at him, and forced him out.

One of the gunmen spoke to al-Arba as the group was leaving.

The Associated Press released video of the abduction, as well as a separate clip of a man identified as Abu Jabal, head of Al Aqsa Brigades in Nablus, saying, "Our demand is the resignation of the interior minister and the suppression of the executive force in Gaza."

Hamas has controlled the Palestinian government since last year, when elections ended decades of Fatah rule.

Jabal said his men had abducted about 10 people.

Palestinian security sources said Fatah gunmen abducted at least five Hamas members Sunday in Nablus, including a bodyguard of the deputy Palestinian prime minister.

Meanwhile, Hamas gunmen tried to kill the bodyguard of Mohammed Dahlan, a top aide to the Palestinian president and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, according to Palestinian security sources.

Dahlan was not present at the time of the attack, the sources said.

In the past three days, Fatah and Hamas militants have kidnapped more than 50 members of each other's groups -- most of them in the West Bank town of Nablus -- the sources said.

The violence, in both the West Bank and Gaza, flared after a Hamas operative was killed Thursday by a bomb in the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza. (Full story)

The dead also include eight people killed on Saturday and Sunday in clashes near the Islamic University in Gaza. Eight Hamas members and two Fatah members died Friday in a gun battle in Jabalya near the home of a Fatah member.

Hamas and Fatah have suspended talks aimed at sharing power in the government because of the violence, according to spokesmen for both groups.

Hamas, which has carried out numerous terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, came to power last year promising to end Fatah's corruption and build a better life for Palestinians.

But Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel and renounce terrorism prompted Western nations -- including the United States and the European Union -- to halt aid money to the Palestinian government, further devastating the Palestinian economy.

Palestinian legislator Saeb Erekat told CNN that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has declared that if an agreement on a unity government is not reached within three weeks, Abbas will issue a presidential decree ordering early elections.

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Palestinian mourners on Sunday carry the body of a child killed this weekend in the clashes between Fatah and Hamas.




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