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Palestinians agree new ceasefire
by Al Jazeera (reposted)
Saturday May 19th, 2007 9:03 AM
Rival Palestinian factions have agreed a new truce after days of deadly clashes in the Gaza Strip.
"Armed men will leave [their positions in] buildings and streets, will remove road blocks and release hostages on both sides," Ghazi Hamad, the Palestinian cabinet spokesman, said after a meeting between leaders of the two groups on Saturday.

"The two groups have begun ordering their men to implement immediately," he added.

The deal, brokered by Egyptian mediators, was the fifth since the violence began last Sunday. At least 50 people have been killed and dozens wounded since then.

"There isn't a lot of hope or optimism in any announcement among the Palestnian public as a lot of similar ceasefires have been reached and broken just as quickly," Nour Odeh, Al Jazeera's Gaza correspondent, said.

The deal came after Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, spoke to Damascus-based Khaled Meshaal, the supreme Hamas leader, who urged senior Hamas and Fatah officials to meet.

A convoy carrying a top aide to Abbas's intelligence chief in the Gaza Strip came under fire shortly after the agreement was signed but Mohammad al-Masri of Fatah was reportedly unharmed.

Israeli air strikes

Israeli attacks on targets in the Gaza Strip continued on Saturday. One Palestinian was killed and five others wounded in latest air strike in the town of Beit Hanoun in the north of the territory.