INTERNATIONAL

Militants torch Gaza police station

GAZA CITY (Gaza Strip): Masked militants set fire and destroyed a Palestinian police station south of Gaza City on Saturday, in an apparent protest against the Palestinian Authority President, Yasser Arafat's lack of reform of the security services. Gaza has been in turmoil for more than a week, igniting a political crisis in the Palestinian Government based in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Witnesses and security officials said the unidentified militants stormed the station in the town of Zwaida, 7 km south of Gaza City, smashed furniture, then set the building alight. The fire also damaged the nearby town council building, officials said. No one was injured, and the buildings were sparsely occupied since the raid happened before normal work hours. No group immediately claimed responsibility. In Khan Younis, in the southern sector of Gaza, about 20 militants of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades took over the building of the local administration, demanding jobs, officials reported. The militant group is affiliated with Mr. Arafat's Fatah movement, but its younger members have been angered by the monopolisation of power in Gaza by Mr. Arafat's associates.

AP

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