Gaza - where a beard can get you killed

Thursday, May 24, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Young Palestinian men affiliated with the Hamas terrorist organization are shaving their telltale beards for fear of identifying themselves to their rivals in Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction.

Hamas sources who spoke to The Jerusalem Post this week said that having a full beard in Gaza can today get one killed on the spot by Fatah gunmen, even those playing the role of Palestinian Authority "police" officers.

"We never imagined that the day would come when Muslim men would be afraid to walk in the street because they are wearing beards," said one Hamas official.

And the attacks are not happening only to Hamas militants, but to any fully-bearded Muslim man who appears to be linked to the Islamic group.

"It's become very dangerous to appear with a beard on the streets of the Gaza Strip," said another frightened source.

Hamas and Fatah have been soaking the streets of Gaza red for weeks now, as truce after truce crumbles under a hail of bullets only hours after being agreed to. Estimates put the death toll over the past 14 days of internecine violence in the vicinity of 150.

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