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Hamas Uses Force to Prevent Gaza Protest


Hamas militiamen in control of the Gaza Strip have used force to break up a demonstration by other Palestinian factions.

Hamas' Executive Force fired into the air and used clubs on supporters of Fatah and other groups as they gathered in the center of Gaza City Monday.

Several protesters were detained as they defied new regulations announced by Hamas late Sunday banning all rallies without a permit.

Hamas militiamen confiscated equipment from news photographers and cameramen covering the rally. They also entered the offices of Al-Arabiya television and seized videotapes of the event.

Hamas militants seized Gaza in mid-June after defeating Fatah forces in weeks of fighting.

Also Monday, a Palestinian bank in Gaza froze the accounts of Hamas security men, prompting Hamas to summon the bank manager for questioning.

The Fatah-led Palestinian government in the West Bank apparently ordered the bank to freeze the accounts after it accidentally paid salaries to Hamas members through the bank earlier this month.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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