June 12 - Four years after Hamas' rise to power in Gaza, the Islamist group and its rival Fatah are in the process of reconciliation. Sunita Rappai reports.
Fighting on the streets of Gaza City four years ago between gunmen from Fatah and Hamas. This week marks the fourth anniversary of Hamas' violent seizure of power in the Gaza Strip after a brief but bloody civil war. Conflict between the two factions had been simmering since Hamas won Palestinian regional elections in January 2006. But in June 2007 it exploded into open street warfare in which hundreds were killed. As the death toll mounted, human rights groups accused both sides of atrocities, with wounded civilians executed on route to hospitals while others were seized from their homes and killed. Since Hamas' takeover, each side has also accused the other of mass detentions of activists. But with both groups signing a surprise unity deal in Cairo in April, there is hope that such conflict could be a thing of the past. Hamas, whose charter calls for Israel's destruction, says it will accept the establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel as a 'transitional' solution. The move has been met with pessimism by the United States and Israel - what it means for Gazans remains to be seen. Sunita Rappai, Reuters