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21 Jun, 2007 16:31

Russians arrive home from Gaza strife

Around 70 Russians who fled Gaza in the wake of Hamas' military actions have arrived back in Moscow aboard a Russian Emergencies Ministry plane. There were also 7 citizens of Belarus on board.

 The refugees – most of them women – left Gaza on Wednesday and passed firstly to Israel, from where they were taken by bus to Jordan. Originally 141 Russians signed up to leave Gaza but at the last minute they were told by Israel that they could not leave the territory.

The Russian authorities, though, have not ruled out further possible evacuation.

The latest crisis in Gaza is linked to the military victory by Hamas over its Fatah rivals last week. It saw the Palestinian Autonomy in a state of civil war.

The violence that plunged the Palestinian Automony deeper into crisis, with effectively two governments in the Palestinian territories now operating in the region: Hamas control the Gaza Strip, while Fatah are in charge of the West Bank. Hamas believes in the destruction of Israel and is wisely considered to be a terrorist organisation. Fatah is more moderate and is backed by western governments as well as Russia.

The ongoing conflict has led to fears of a humanitarian crisis. Still, politically there seems little room for compromise among the Palestinian groups, who do not even consider the possibility of negotiations.
The scenes of people trying to flee to Israel is as stark a reminder as any that the civil war is simply too much for some.