Hamas Fatah agree on ceasefire

1156.jpgRival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah say they have agreed to the terms of a new truce to end days of fighting in Gaza that has left 80 people dead. In a joint statement, leaders from both sides called for an end to fighting.Deputy Palestinian Prime Minister Azam al-Ahmad, a senior Fatah official, said the group had agreed to a list of conditions from Hamas for a truce.


But Hamas’s military wing says it has received no orders to put down its guns and clashes are continuing in Gaza.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, of Fatah, and Prime Minister Ishmael Haniya, of Hamas, issued a statement broadcast on Palestinian television in which they called on all sides to halt the fighting.


A Palestinian official said Hamas presented a list of nine conditions, including appointing an interior minister responsible for all Palestinian security forces and demanding that it share control with Fatah of Gaza’s boundaries and borders.


Senior Fatah official, Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Azzam al-Ahmad, said Fatah had accepted the conditions in principle, but that more dialogue between the two sides was needed. However, he said since then Hamas had not responded.


Analysts say if the fighting is not checked Palestinians could be split into a Fatah-controlled West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Fatah and Hamas agreed a unity government in March to bring an end to factional strife and Western sanctions but it has not stopped the rivalry.


Earlier, Hamas said it had pushed Fatah gunmen out of the north of Gaza and gained control of much of the south.

At least 17 people were reported killed in fighting on Wednesday, with 80 reported to have died since Saturday.

Hamas appears to be winning the bitter battle for all-out control of Gaza.


A truce agreed on Monday was quickly broken and fighting escalated across northern Gaza. On Wednesday, the fighting spread across central and southern Gaza.


Fighting has also spilled over into the West Bank, with a gun battle breaking out in the northern town of Nablus.


The Fatah men promised “blood for blood” in the West Bank if the Hamas attacks in Gaza did not stop. Hamas has issued its own ultimatum to Fatah militants in Gaza to lay down their weapons on Friday or risk having them taken from them.


About 1,000 Palestinians marched through Gaza City on Wednesday urging the rival factions to “stop the killing”. The demonstration drew gunfire from armed men on nearby buildings killing at least one protester and injuring 14 others. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the shooting. 


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the idea of an international peace-keeping force in Gaza should be explored.


Two workers from the UN relief agency were among those who died on Wednesday. The UN said it would temporarily scale back its operations in Gaza.


The international community has called for a ceasefire, and Arab League head Amr Moussa said the fighting was destroying the Palestinian cause.

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