Palestinian ceasefire comes into force
The ceasefire comes amid increasing international pressure on the Palestinian factions to resolve their differences.india Updated: Jan 30, 2007 12:05 IST
A ceasefire between the Palestinian ruling party Hamas and its rival Fatah came into force on Tuesday as they sought to end four days of vicious factional fighting that left 33 people dead.
Gaza City residents said sporadic gunfire ended shortly before the ceasefire came into force at 0630 IST.
The ceasefire, arranged late on Monday, comes amid increasing international pressure on the Palestinian factions to resolve their differences and form a national unity government, as well as efforts to revive the peace process with Israel.
Palestinian foreign minister Mahmud Zahar announced the ceasefire late yesterday after an agreement was reached by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya and Rawhi Fattuh, a representative of Palestinian Fatah president Mahmud Abbas.
In addition to withdrawing their armed men from the streets, the factions agreed to release hostages they have each taken from the other side over recent days.
Zahar added that Haniya and Abbas would meet soon to relaunch a dialogue.
The latest bout of violence was the worst since Hamas won a landslide election a year ago, and torpedoed on-and-off talks to broker a power-sharing agreement.
Despite a Saudi offer Sunday to mediate, clashes continued throughout on Monday.
Two officers in the mainstream and pro-Fatah security apparatus, a Hamas militant and a civilian died.
On Monday night, a rocket-propelled grenade slammed into the Palestinian national security and police headquarters in Gaza City, causing widespread damage, witnesses and security sources said.