Forty Injured at Gaza Wedding

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KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip - A wedding in the Gaza Strip ended in chaos Tuesday evening, when an explosive device hurled into the crowd just before midnight injured at least 40 guests, 14 of them seriously.

The groom, Mahmoud Dahlan, a Preventive Security Service officer, is the nephew of former Palestinian Authority (PA) security chief Mohammed Dahlan.

Most of the family and friends at the wedding, many of whom live in Khan Younis, are affiliated with the PA's Fatah faction. One Fatah official numbered the injured closer to 60.

Some eyewitnesses reported seeing a veiled person hurl a grenade into the crowd, while others said a bomb had been placed under the stage, which served as a dance floor and collapsed with the explosion.

"There was another device that did not explode," one eyewitness told Ynet news. "Had it been detonated, no one would have escaped alive," he said.

Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman, Ihabal Ghissin, said a percussion grenade caused the stage to collapse, wounding many, while others were injured from the grenade's shrapnel.

Ghissin also said that fireworks - commonly used at Arab weddings - may have contributed to the damage and injuries.

Dahlan and his associates have been the target of rival Hamas members over the years.

In January 2007, Hamas gunmen targeted Dahlan's bodyguard and accused Dahlan of plotting to assassinate Gaza-based Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh.

During his tenure as head of the Preventive Security Service in the 1990s, Dahlan was known for his brutal tactics against members of Hamas and other smaller terror groups.

Sources: Ynet news, The Jerusalem Post 

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