Hamas, Radicals Gun Battle Leaves 24 Dead

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Order has been restored in the Gaza town of Rafah after a gun battle between Hamas and a rival Islamist group over the weekend left at least 24 people dead.

Reported among the dead were Abdel-Latif Moussa, the leader of the militant group known as Jund Ansar Allah. The group is small, but is known to be even more radical in their Islamic beliefs than Hamas.

Hamas authorities arrested 100 people during the clashes and they continue to search for other Jund Ansar Allah members.

The fighting began when Jund Ansar Allah issued a challenge to Hamas leadership in its Friday sermon by declaring Gaza an Islamic emirate. Hamas fighters attempted to persuade Moussa to surrender early Saturday at his home, but an explosion killed the leader.
Hamas spokesman Ihab Al Ghussien said the group would "not allow the return of security chaos to Gaza."

At least 150 people have been injured in the violence since Friday and Hamas leaders said they expect the number to rise.

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