John Lyons, Middle East correspondent | August 17
Security officers from Hamas, which runs Gaza, moved against Jund Ansar Allah - also known as Jihadi Soldiers of God, or Soldiers of the Partisans of God - after its leader Sheik Abdel-Latif Moussa, declared Gaza was "an Islamic emirate".
"We will set up the Gaza emirate on our dead bodies, and we will apply the laws and edicts of sharia," he told his followers, many of whom were armed.
Over the next several hours, a gun battle ensued between the two sides, with the majority of the 24 killed being from Jund Ansar Allah. Moussa himself was killed.
It appeared that heavily armed followers of the Sheik had helped him escape from the mosque where he had delivered the sermon back to his nearby house, where he was killed in the gun battles that followed.
Hamas claimed Moussa had blown himself and others up in a suicide action when trapped in the house, but Hamas would not allow journalists to enter Rafah to independently verify the claims.
Tensions had been growing between Hamas and Jund Ansar Allah for several months, with the latter trying to impose a strict sharia law upon the coastal strip.
While Hamas is considered a militant Islamic group, it is divided over whether sharia law should be mandatory for the 1.5million Gazans. Read more here ...
Source: The Australian