Announcing Conflict Blotter

Those of you who've read this blog for a few years will remember Charles Levinson, who in 2004-2005 was a regular contributor. Charles left Egypt a couple of years ago and after a stint in Iraq ended up in Jerusalem, where he currently works for the Sunday Telegraph. Over the last week he's set up a new blog of his own at www.conflictblotter.com. It already has some great live reporting from Gaza, where Charles currently is, including coverage of the renewed fighting between Fatah and Hamas:

Protracted firefights raged though the night and are continuing with no let up. We barely slept and were tossed from our beds multiple times by nearby explosions. The windows in the building next door shattered at one point. It’s 7 a.m. now and there is no sign that things are quieting. Loud explosions and the constant rattle of gunfire can be heard from near and far. We’re located just north of Abbas’ compound, and are pinned down for now in our apartment, but what we’re hearing is that this is going on throughout Gaza City and northern Gaza.

This is far more than a skirmish. This is a sustained hours long firefight. Unlike past infighting here, this fighting, for the first time, seems to have engaged the full strength and firepower of the Palestinian security services.

The latest bit of news we’ve heard is that Fatah spokesman Maher Mikdad, with whom we had an interview skedded for today, is caught in his house which is surrounded and under siege by Hamas.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.