One killed in Gaza despite new Hamas-Fatah truce


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Gaza : One Palestinian was killed and at least six injured Monday in renewed clashes between Hamas and Fatah, despite a new ceasefire between the two leading Palestinian movements reached overnight.

The death brings to six the number of Palestinians killed since Sunday in the first deadly Hamas-Fatah clashes since the two rival groups formed a unity government in March, with the main aim of ending internal Palestinian violence.

The latest fatality was a bodyguard in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' coalition Fatah party, Voice of Palestine Radio reported.

Gunmen of the ruling Hamas movement had attacked the house of a Fatah spokesman and shot the man, the radio said.

Under the latest internal Palestinian truce, reached under Egyptian mediation overnight, the sides had agreed to withdraw all armed men from the streets of Gaza by 1 a.m. Monday (2200 GMT).

Fatah militants also pledged to release dozens of Hamas activists abducted during the day, but by late Monday morning had yet to do so.

Four Palestinians were killed in clashes between Fatah and Hamas Sunday. A fifth Palestinian was killed in a violent confrontation between two feuding families.

Since the formation of the Hamas-Fatah unity government on March 17, there have been sporadic skirmishes, but mainly between feuding families and no real street fighting between rival Hamas and Fatah militants.

But new tension arose when security forces answering to the president deployed in Gaza Saturday and Interior Minister Hani al- Qawasmi, an independent but considered close to Hamas, said the deployment was not part of the security plan he has drawn up.

The security forces loyal to Abbas stopped Hamas militants in the streets of Gaza, confiscated their weapons and arrested at least one, prompting angry Hamas gunmen to attack police patrols and hijack several police cars.

Under mediation by the interior minister, the cars were returned, but the next day, unknown gunmen shot dead a Fatah commander in the presidential security forces in northern Gaza. Fatah blamed Hamas, and responded by abducting what the radical Islamic group said were some 70 of its members and sparking street clashes in the northern Gaza towns of Beit Lahiya, Jabiliya and Gaza City.