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Palestine National Unity: More delays, more deaths
Violence continues to rock Gaza as a Palestinian national unity government appears no closer to fruition, writes Erica Silverman
Palestinians witnessed the bloodiest round of inter- factional violence yet between Fatah and Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza this week, claiming the lives of 34 Palestinians and injuring over 100 in just four days. The fatalities were mostly fighters, although several children were caught in the crossfire. Early Tuesday morning Fatah and Hamas agreed to another shaky ceasefire, brokered by the Egyptian diplomatic delegation.
Foreign Minister Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, of Hamas, said Fatah and Hamas had "agreed to pull all gunmen from the streets and remove checkpoints." Those suspected of involvement in the killings were to be turned over to prosecutors for investigation.
Simultaneously, the violence was redirected towards Israel on Monday as a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up next to a bakery in Israel's southern resort town of Eilat, killing three Israelis. It was the first attack of its kind since April. Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad praised the "resistance" operation.
The bombing was a joint operation between Islamic Jihad and a new offshoot of Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades -- the military wing of President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement -- called the "Army of Believers", said a masked spokesperson for the military wing of Islamic Jihad at a press conference later that day in Gaza City. Islamic Jihad asserted the attack was carried out in retaliation for Israel's daily military incursions into the Palestinian territories, including mass arrests and targeted assassinations.