Gaza Strip: Another truce declared after at least 14 killed in Fatah-Hamas clashes
Fighting Palestinian factions agreed a new truce in Gaza Strip Wednesday evening after at least 14 Palestinans were killed in gunbattles. Hamas and president Mahmud Abbas of Fatah party announced a new truce as of 1700 GMT in a bid to stop four days of fighting
Erlier, Abbas and Hamas' political supremo Khaled Meshaal agreed to work to halt the bloodshed. Palestinian information minister Mustafa Barghuti told AFP that Abbas and Meshaal agreed in a telephone called "on the necessity to put an end to the bloody events between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza." Three previous ceasefires agreed upon since Sunday have collapsed within hours of their taking effect.
Hamas gunmen early Wednesday killed five guards while storming the home of Fatah's top security chief in Gaza Strip as part of the factional fighting that defied an attempted ceasefire deal, Palestinian security and Fatah sources said.
The fighting at the home of Rashid Abu Shbak came shortly after mortars hit near the office of President Mahmoud Abbas and after gunmen attacked a Hamas police position outside the interior ministry in Gaza, sources said. A Fatah official told Reuters at least five guards died in the attack on Shbak's home.
Another person, a member of Abbas' presidential guard, was killed later and 15 others injured.
A spokesman for the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades which is part of Fatah, said Hamas' political leadership was involved in the killings. "Hamas's political leadership is participating in the assassination and murder of Fatah men," Abu Qusai said in comments to reporters.
Hours earlier gunmen shot and injured an Egyptian official as he tried to monitor a truce declared by Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas.
Witnesses said Wednesday's fighting started with grenades thrown at a position of Hamas' executive force outside the Interior Ministry shortly after dawn, followed by the firing of mortars that struck just behind President Abbas' compound, while he was inside.
Gunmen also pounded the main headquarters of the Fatah-dominated preventive security services with mortar bombs, sparking a new gunbattle in that area, witnesses said.
Later, eight people, including one civilian, were killed when Hamas fighters fired anti-tank shells on a Fatah vehicle carrying Islamic Resistance Movement detainees, they said.
At least 16 Palestinians were killed on Tuesday -- eight in one incident -- in the deadliest fighting between Hamas and Fatah since they formed a unity government in March. At least 29 have died since the fighting erupted on Friday.