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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hamas Ambushes Fatah Forces

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Hamas gunmen Tuesday ambushed rival Fatah forces near a crossing along the Israeli border, killing eight people in the deadliest battle yet in three days of factional fighting.

The incident briefly drew Israeli gunfire, threatening to drag Israel into the conflict.

At least 19 people have died in the infighting, which has brought life in Gaza to a standstill and pushed the fragile Palestinian unity government closer to collapse. Hamas and Fatah formed the union in March with the aim of ending months of violence.

Tuesday's fighting erupted when Hamas gunmen approached a training base used by Fatah forces that guard the Karni cargo crossing, officials said.

The Hamas force attacked the base with rockets, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, said Ahmed al-Kaisi, spokesman for the pro-Fatah Presidential Guard, which guards the crossing under an agreement with Israel.

When forces from another Fatah security unit raced to the scene to provide backup, they were ambushed by Hamas gunmen, witnesses said.

A jeep full of security men that came under fire and crashed. Hamas forces then surrounded the vehicle and riddled it with gunfire, said one witness, who works nearby.

Israeli troops fired at two gunmen, the Israeli army said. Palestinian officials said a member of the Presidential Guard was killed.