Gaza Strip: Hamas commander shot dead despite truce
Gunmen killed a Hamas commander in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and the Islamic movement blamed a Fatah-dominated security service for the first killing since a ceasefire went into effect overnight.
According to Reuters, hospital officials in the southern town of Khan Younis said Hussein Shabasi was shot in the head.
A spokesman for Hamas' armed wing said he was killed by the Preventive Security Service.
Officially, the cease-fire declaration by the Palestinian factions went into effect at 3 A.M. local time. However, the sounds of gunfire and blasts were heard in downtown Gaza City as gunmen from Fatah and Hamas ignored the cease-fire, reached at a midnight meeting between Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas and a representative of Palestinianpresident Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah.
The truce was meant to halt factional fighting that has left more than 60 Palestinians dead over the past two months.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar declared the cease-fire after Monday night talks between Fatah and Hamas representatives. He said the two sides had agreed to take all gunmen off the streets of Gaza and remove checkpoints. Zahar said the factions agreed to "pull all gunmen from the streets and remove checkpoints... return all security forces to their positions and end all forms of tensions."
They also agreed to hand over those suspected of involvement in the killings to prosecutors for investigation, and prevent the recent bloodshed in Gaza Strip from spilling over to the West Bank.
"The president and the prime minister call on Hamas and Fatah to abide by the above mentioned agreement and to meet immediately to discuss all the remaining issues in preparation to resume the broad national meeting over the formation of a national unity government," Zahar said.
Earlier Monday, Haniyeh urged all Palestinian forces to get their guns off the streets and end the fiercest clashes since Hamas beat Abbas' Fatah faction in elections last year. "In order to preserve Palestinian blood and stop internal deterioration in the relation of Fatah and Hamas movements, the prime minister sends an urgent call to stop all forms of clashes and end all forms of armed display in the Palestinian community," a statement issued by Haniyeh's office said.
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