Islamic Jihad says truce on the edge of collapse
Palestinian group Islamic Jihad threatened to attack Israel "in the coming hours" on Sunday in retaliation for what it said was Israel's repeated violation of a week-old truce in the Gaza Strip. "Calm is on the edge of collapse due to the continued Zionist violations and the attacks against our Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza," Abu Ahmed, a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad's armed wing, said in a statement.
"Nobody should blame (Islamic Jihad) for any reaction its brigades will take in the coming hours in response to the violations by the Zionist occupation." Islamic Jihad accused Israel of "more than 70 violations" of the ceasefire.
At least five Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli troops since the truce was announced on Nov. 26. All of those incidents have occurred in the West Bank. The last victim was reported near Nablus on Sunday.
Earlier, Israel's Defense Minister Amir Peretz told a security cabinet meeting on Sunday that security forces will continue to operate in the West Bank.
Meanwhile, Hamas announced Sunday it is pulling out of Palestinian talks on extending the cease-fire with Israel to the West Bank. "The comprehensive calm must come as a part of a comprehensive national plan, and at this time, the talks on a cease-fire are being held at the expense of talks on internal Palestinian issues," said Hamas in a statement.
On his part, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday he is still hopeful that a Palestinian unity government can be formed, despite the collapse of the talks. Abbas said any delay in the formation of a national unity government would harm chances of ending international economic sanctions on the PA, and will thus hurt the Palestinian people.
"We would like a government that can end the siege of the Palestinian people," said Abbas.