Fatah, Hamas strike new deal to stop Gaza fight | india | Hindustan Times
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Fatah, Hamas strike new deal to stop Gaza fight

india Updated: Dec 20, 2006 02:27 IST

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said a deal was reached between his Fatah faction and Hamas to halt fierce clashes in the Gaza Strip in which six fighters were killed on Tuesday.

"We bless and support this agreement. After one hour, it will take effect," Abbas told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "We hope all will abide by this agreement."

Hamas and Fatah security chiefs earlier appeared side by side in Gaza City to declare that Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas had agreed to withdraw their forces from the streets starting at 11 pm (2100 GMT).

A previous ceasefire deal broke down within 24 hours and it was unclear whether this one would hold.

Tuesday's death toll was the highest since internal fighting intensified over the weekend. Four of the six were killed in street battles. The bodies of two of Abbas's security men were found dead hours after their abduction, hospital officials said.

Concerned events were spinning out of control, Western and Arab nations urged a halt to the fighting.

The internal violence, the worst in a decade, has escalated since Abbas called for early elections on Saturday to try to break a political deadlock with the Hamas government. Hamas has described his move as a "coup".

A senior Abbas aide said the president planned to issue a decree next week calling for the early elections.

Haniyeh reiterated in a speech broadcast live on television that the movement rejected Abbas's election call and accused the United States of spearheading efforts to bring down his government. Hamas has said it would boycott any polls.