01/30/2007, 00.00
PALESTINE – ISRAEL
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Gaza, new ceasefire between Hamas and Fatah

Palestinian PM Haniyeh and a representative of Palestinian President Abbas reach agreement on ceasefire. Israeli aerial attack destroys tunnel near Karni crossing.

Gaza (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A ceasefire between Hamas and gunmen comes into force overnight, Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar announced after a meeting between Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh from Hamas and a representative of Palestinian President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. The meeting was also attended by some Egyptian mediators.

According to Zahar, clashes between the two factions, in which at least 60 people have been killed, will end and security forces will be back in their bases. However, the two faction clashed again in the early hours of the day in the Gaza Strip and for the time being some groups are still armed protecting Abbas’s residence and that of an another leader.

The latest clashes were the fiercest ones since Islamist Hamas, which rejects peace talks with Israel, trounced the more moderate Fatah in elections last year, triggering a Western aid embargo.

The spiralling violence has derailed unity government talks between Hamas and Fatah and prompted some Gazan families to flee their homes. Many shops and schools have been closed.

Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar said the ceasefire also requires gunmen to release hostages, and Palestinian police to deploy in force. But at present the agreement has yet to be implemented.

A few hours after a terrorist attack against the tourist resort of Eilat in southern Israel that killed three people, Israel’s air force struck the Gaza Strip overnight. It is the first such raid since November 26 when a truce came into effect.

The aerial attack targeted a tunnel near Karni, Gaza's main trade crossing with Israel.  An army spokesman said Palestinian militants planned to use to carry out attacks inside Israel.

 

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