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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2007, 17:26 GMT 18:26 UK
Factional conflict: life in Gaza
Residents of Gaza City are trapped inside their homes as Fatah and Hamas gunmen vie for control of the streets. Two Palestinians in Gaza City and one in Rafah in the south describe the security situation.

AHMAD AL-WAZIR, 27, UNDP EMPLOYEE, GAZA CITY

What's happening in Gaza may soon turn into a proper civil war unless it's stopped immediately.

Map showing Rafah and Gaza City
Insecurity has spread across Gaza Strip

I work for the UNDP [United Nations Development Programme] in Gaza City, but we have no working life right now. All the UN agencies have stopped and today I didn't go in.

Yesterday [Tuesday], we managed to go in but we were told to leave at 1pm.

I live with my wife and one-year-old child very close to the presidential area. I was afraid for my family, so I took them to my father-in-law's house in a safer area.

I had to return to my local supermarket to buy milk for my child. The streets were totally empty.

I had to go through three checkpoints; all of them manned by masked men so you can't really tell who they are. They are most probably from the national security guard. They check your ID see if you have a beard, ask where you're going and if you have guns.

This is the first time we've had clashes like this since the Mecca agreement [to create a unity government] in February.

My wife is always trying to convince me to leave Gaza but even though the situation is bad I somehow refuse to leave my country. If everyone like me leaves, only the criminals will be left.

DOAA ABU-HARB, 20, UNIVERSITY STUDENT, RAFAH, GAZA

There was a bomb attack in Rafah this morning, by the Israeli occupation forces. Deaths and many injuries.

Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli missile attack in Rafah refugee camp
Palestinian officials say the Israeli air strike in Rafah killed four people

But thank God, Rafah is still better than other areas in the Gaza Strip.

I was last in Gaza [City] on Saturday. I was at the university, but they told us to go home.

I have stayed put in Rafah since then. We can go out and go shopping but it's not safe and it's frightening.

There is infighting and we do hear shooting here and there, but it is not like it is in Gaza [City].

My brother hasn't been to school since Saturday because there are groups of Fatah and Hamas armed men near his school building.

My sister tried to go to work yesterday [Tuesday], but she was threatened by masked gunmen, so she had to come back.

We are meant to have university exams at the end of this month; I think they may have to be delayed.

IMAN, 21, UNIVERSITY STUDENT AND JOURNALIST, GAZA CITY

Heavily armed men are everywhere.

When I left university two days ago a gunman brandished his weapon in the face of the passenger in the front of my taxi. We were all terrified.

People are under tremendous psychological stress

Because of the security checkpoints, it took me much longer to reach college.

I study at the Islamic university in Gaza. There are reports that the campuses have come under fire from gunmen.

Everyone is being terrorised - women, children and old people included. People are under tremendous psychological stress.

Students are extremely worried that their courses will be suspended, like they were two months ago.

This would affect our academic future and students are an integral part of society.

I am confined to my home. The streets are full of masked, armed men - some are positioned on roof tops, it's too dangerous to go out.



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