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Palestinian president rips Hamas' 'bloody coup'

Story Highlights

• Hamas takeover a "massacre," Fatah leader says
• Garbage, human waste foul passage
• Israeli aircraft strike at missile launchers in Gaza
• Israeli troops kill six Palestinians in Gaza, West Bank firefights
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday denounced Hamas leaders as "traitors," blaming them for planning their "bloody coup" in Gaza while participating in a unity government.

He called on Hamas to apologize for the fighting in Gaza and to hand government offices to the new Palestinian leaders.

"We reject a monopoly of power by one group or faction," Abbas said.

Abbas, who heads the rival Fatah movement, addressed the Palestine Liberation Organization -- which he chairs -- in Ramallah, West Bank, at a time when he is seeking support for the government he installed under emergency orders following Hamas' takeover of Gaza last week. (Watch Hamas leader pressed on missing reporter Video)

He called on the international community to "commit to an international peace conference by which Israeli and Palestinian negotiation will take place."

"We are a nation that can rise above the wounds," he said.

He ruled out any talks with Hamas "traitors" who "conducted a coup against legitimacy."

"They do not deserve to be involved in any dialogue," Abbas said. "There will be no dialogue with Hamas no matter what."

The audience responded with applause.

He accused Hamas of "killings ... and massacre" during its siege of Gaza, as well as a plot to assassinate him during a recent trip there.

He said he received a videotape from a member of Hamas showing six militants planting a bomb, some of them saying, "'This bomb is for Abu Mazen" -- referring to Abbas.

He said he sent the video to Hamas' exiled political leader Khaled Meshaal in Damascus, Syria, who denied the plot before he saw the video.

Abbas also blasted Hamas fighters for desecrating national symbols during their seizure of Gaza.

"They deposed the statue of the unknown soldier in Gaza City ... that symbolizes our martyrs ... and the good deeds of those who sacrificed," the Palestinian president said.

Abbas also said the Hamas leadership had long planned their "coup" in Gaza and accused them of establishing "an emirate ... that's [dominated] by one party that's racist and extremist."

Palestinians stranded at crossing

Several dozen pro-Fatah Palestinians with little food and no toilets remained stranded Wednesday inside the Erez Crossing walkway connecting Hamas-led Gaza to Israel.

"The situation is dreadful," Saeb Erakat said. "The situation is very, very dire."

The refugees are inside the 300-yard long covered walkway bordered by two 10-yard high concrete walls, which is now filled with waste and feces. They are mostly young men, but a few women are also there with several children. They represent what is left of several hundred people who rushed to the border crossing last week when fighting between Hamas and Fatah militants raged for control of Gaza. (Watch Palestinians stranded in border crossing Video)

Some of them tell stories of narrow escapes from Hamas militants and many say they fear for their lives if forced return to Gaza.

The Israeli government allowed several dozen senior Fatah leaders and their families to pass through on their way to the Fatah-controlled West Bank. People with foreign citizenship were also allowed to pass, according to Israeli daily Haaretz.

On Monday, grenade attacks inside the tunnel wounded at least 17 people. Israel has already allowed wounded Five of the critically wounded were rushed to Israeli hospitals, but the others remained in Gaza, Erakat said.

Erakat said the Palestinian Authority was "looking at various options" for resolving the Erez Crossing crisis.

Erakat urged all other Palestinians in Gaza to "please stay home."

It is estimated there are 4.3 million Palestinians who are considered refugees in several countries, according to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency.

Israeli airstrikes target missiles

Elsewhere Wednesday, Israeli aircraft pounded two rocket launchers in northern Gaza after two Qassam rockets were fired toward southern Israel, an Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman said.

It is the first Israeli airstrike since Hamas took control of Gaza last week.

There were no reported casualties from either strike.

Israeli soldiers killed six Palestinian gunmen during firefights in Gaza and the West Bank early Wednesday, Israeli and Palestinian sources said.

In Gaza, Israeli forces pushed several hundred yards into the Palestinian territory, near Kissufim Crossing, to battle militants, the sources said. During the exchange, two Palestinian gunmen were killed and three others were wounded. Two of the wounded later died. An Israeli army spokesman said one Israeli soldier was wounded.

Overnight, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian militants in the West Bank town of Kafr Dan, near Jenin, Israeli and Palestinian sources said.

According to residents, the gunmen were members of Islamic Jihad and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

Israeli, Palestinian lawmakers talk

Also Wednesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke with newly appointed Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, asking him to "advance the political process" which had been "stuck" under the previous Fatah-Hamas unity government.

Fayyad, a political independent, was appointed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Fatah movement, and sworn into office last weekend.

The new Palestinian government, based in the West Bank, is trying to establish some kind of presence in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

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Palestinian men wait in the passageway at the Erez Crossing in northern Gaza Wednesday hoping that Israel will allow them passage to the West Bank.



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