Hamas forces on Thursday effectively completed their conquest of the Gaza Strip when they took control of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' “presidential” compound in Gaza City.
Earlier in the day, Hamas captured the Gaza headquarters of the official Palestinian Authority security forces, which are dominated by members of Abbas' Fatah movement. Nearly every senior Fatah field commander in Gaza was said to be in Hamas custody.
Scores of people were killed during the intense firefights, including a large number of captured Fatah-aligned police officers that witnesses reported seeing Hamas publicly execute.
As the blood-soaked day drew to a close, a Hamas leader speaking on a local Palestinian television program announced the “end of secularism and heresy in the Gaza Strip.”
Abbas responded by dissolving the Palestinian government and dismissing Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. The Islamic terror group said it had no intention of honoring that decision.
The chairman later declared a state of emergency and ordered his forces to arrest dozens of Hamas fighters in Judea and Samaria to prevent a repeat of the Gaza coup there.