Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Second Palestinian Truce Fails Amid Ongoing Bloodshed

Ryan R. Jones - All Headline News Middle East Correspondent

Jerusalem (AHN) - For the second time this week, warring Palestinian factions reached a fragile ceasefire in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, and for the second time the truce collapsed almost immediately amid ongoing bloodshed.

The ruling Hamas organization and the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have been battling each other in bloody street confrontations throughout Gaza and the West Bank since Abbas declared at the weekend his intention to hold early elections.

Masked Hamas gunmen shot dead two Fatah police officers and wounded six others in an ambush in Gaza City early Wednesday morning, just hours after the two sides had reportedly signed on to an Egyptian-brokered deal to pull back their forces and end the fighting.

While Fatah officials insisted they remained committed to the truce, The Jerusalem Post reported that calls for revenge at the policemen's joint funeral gave the impression that the next round of full-scale violence was just around the corner.

Intermittent fighting had continued throughout the night in Gaza, despite the reported ceasefire.

Tuesday was the bloodiest day of fighting yet between Fatah and Hamas, leaving six people dead and many more wounded.

At least 15 people have been killed since Saturday.

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