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Gaza gunbattle kills bystander

Hamas militia, Palestinian police clash outside parliament

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A member of the Hamas auxillary police force crouches Monday during a clash between police and the Hamas paramilitary force.

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GAZA CITY (CNN) -- At least one person was killed Monday when a gunbattle erupted between Hamas militiamen and Palestinian police around the parliament building.

The militiamen loyal to the Hamas-led government were firing from the second and third floors of the parliament building, CNN correspondent John Vause reported from the scene.

Video of the battle showed a Jordanian diplomatic car riddled with bullets. A passenger inside the vehicle was killed.

Tensions have been high between the police and the Hamas militia in the past week.

Since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered that Hamas remove its new 3,000-member militia from the streets, there have been several clashes between the police and militia.

Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi said that along with a "national dialogue meeting" set for this week to develop a "national unity program," there are "steps being taken underground" to try to end the power struggle between Hamas and Abbas.

Ashrawi called the atmosphere "a powder keg ready to explode," noting that Palestinian security forces have not been paid in months because of the lack of funds to run the government.

"The security forces must be entirely depoliticized, otherwise we will end up with warlords and with militias," Ashrawi said.

Hamas is a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization that took control of the government in March elections. The group's military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, has admitted responsibility for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians as well as attacks against the Israeli military.

Israel and the U.S. State Department consider Hamas a terrorist organization, though it also operates an extensive social services network in the Palestinian territories.

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