New agreement between Hamas and Fatah as Haniyeh slams Abbas
Palestinian security chiefs loyal to Hamas and Fatah agreed on Tuesday to withdraw their forces from the streets of Gaza in another bid to halt factional fighting, a senior Palestinian official said. A previous ceasefire deal broke down within 24 hours. The new truce was brokered by Egyptian mediators.
The new agreement, according to Reuters, calls for "all armed men" to leave the streets, and for Hamas and Fatah forces to return to their posts before the fighting intensified. The withdrawal will start within hours, the official said.
Gun battles between Hamas and Fatah raged on Tuesday in the Gaza Strip, where at least six fighters were killed.
Meanwhile, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called Tuesday afternoon on the fighters to halt clashes in the Gaza Strip. "I call on all to show restraint and calm, not to resort to arms and to end tensions," Haniyeh said in a speech broadcast live on television, in which he also urged the warring factions to unite in the struggle against Israel.
"This nation, this people, will be united in front of the occupation and aggression and will not be engaged, despite the wounds of the past few days, in internal fighting," Haniyeh said in his speech.
On his part, Abbas said in a statement, "I call on ... all, without exception, to adhere to a cease-fire and to end the killings and all other operations in order to maintain our national unity."
Haniyeh also described Abbas' call for early Palestinian elections as "illegal" and accused the United States of spearheading efforts to bring down his democratically-elected government. "I want to clarify that we consider the issue of the early elections for the presidency and parliament unconstitutional," Haniyeh said. "If you [Abbas] consider the people the source of power, why are you working against the will of the people."
"There is an undeclared decision to bring down the government... and the Americans are leading this effort," Haniyeh added.