Hamas, Islamic Jihad sign Rafah ceasefire


Gaza : Hamas and the Islamic Jihad have signed a ceasefire to stop the armed confrontations and end escalation in Rafah after Sunday night’s fighting left a Hamas activist dead and 18 other gunmen injured on both sides.

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Local media Monday reported that representatives of the two groups met Sunday night through the mediation of the Popular Resistance Committees and agreed to stop battles.

In the second statement of the kind in two days, the two groups said they agreed on a total immediate end to all manifestations of tension and this includes pulling out their fighters from the streets, removing barricades, and stopping all attacks, raids, and arrests, as well as releasing all arrestees and abductees.

The statement said the groups are to remove all causes for tension and set up a joint committee to look into the recent clashes and restore positive relations between them.

A similar scenario was seen Saturday when the two groups clashed in the same city killing a woman and injuring 15 people before a similar agreement was signed. However, the clashes erupted anew before this second agreement was announced.

Islamic Jihad leader Sheikh Nafith Azzam said the groups reached an agreement to calm the situation in Rafah. He told local radio all Palestinian energy should be put into countering the Israeli enemy and expressed hope there would not be more incidents of this sort.

Islamic Jihad’s Quds Brigades fighter Mahmoud Eisa, 21, was killed in Rafah Sunday night in the clashes with Fatah.

Medical sources reported machineguns and mortar shells were used in the clashes that left 18 people injured, four of them in critical condition.

Tension spread to Khan Younes where both groups deployed considerable numbers of activists.

Sources told KUNA the tension reached the city after a Hamas armed group arrested Islamic Jihad leader Eisa Al-Farra.

The sources said Al-Farra, 55, was arrested after a raid on his home. An exchange of fire and heavy deployment began after the arrest.