Roadblock rage in Gaza

GAZA STRIP - A pair of Islamic Jihad gunmen did not like the idea of getting stopped at a Hamas police roadblock so they crashed through it - and set off days of gun battles that left two dead and several wounded after one of them was arrested by Hamas police.

GAZA STRIP - A pair of Islamic Jihad gunmen did not like the idea of getting stopped at a Hamas police roadblock so they crashed through it - and set off days of gun battles that left two dead and several wounded after one of them was arrested by Hamas police.

The long-simmering rivalry between the Islamic militant movements is increasingly turning into confrontation. Both are backed by Iran and uncompromising in their rejection of Israel.

Hamas seized control of Gaza in June and Islamic Jihad chafed at its claim to be the territory's sole ruler. Continued rocket attacks on Israeli border towns and Gaza-Israel border crossings, have been Islamic Jihad's most effective way of demonstrating independence from Hamas, which is too small for it to dislodge.

Hamas leaders on several occasions have asked Islamic Jihad to stop, aware that the rockets have disrupted shipments of the few supplies still coming into Gaza. Islamic Jihad refused.

"We must create a balance of terror with the enemy," Abu Hamza, a leading Islamic Jihad militant, said recently.

Armed men from both sides have clashed over control of mosques and the right to carry weapons in public. - Sapa-AP

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