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Fatah men who fled Gaza set to return, Hamas officials say

More than 100 Fatah members who fled to Egypt after Gaza fell to their rivals from Hamas last week were to return home Monday, Hamas officials said.

The men, members of the Fatah-affiliated security forces routed by Hamas in five days of fighting last week, fled to Egypt through the Rafah crossing in southern Gaza after their defeat. But Egyptian authorities would not let them leave the crossing, and the men have been stuck for days on the Egyptian side of the terminal, the Hamas officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details of the Fatah members' return with the media.

Fifteen of the Fatah men re-entered Gaza on Sunday, having co-ordinated their return with Hamas forces, and the rest were to return Monday, according to the officials.

The victorious Hamas forces killed several of their Fatah rivals after completing their takeover of Gaza, including one commander who was stripped, beaten and then shot on a crowded street and another who was thrown off a roof. But on Friday, with the chaotic coastal strip firmly under their control, Hamas declared a general amnesty for Fatah men.

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