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Fresh clashes strain Fatah/Hamas truce

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Fresh clashes strain Fatah/Hamas truce


A gun battle has been raging in Gaza despite an official truce between the two main militant groups, Hamas and Fatah. The Islamic University, a pro-Hamas stronghold, was the scene of overnight clashes. Fatah gunmen attacked it in retaliation for an earlier ambush by Hamas in which six people were reported killed.

Hamas militants said what they attacked was a convoy carrying military equipment to their rivals. Fatah, which supports Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, denied the claim saying the trucks were transporting medical supplies and tents.

The gun battles have placed an enormous strain on a ceasefire agreed just three days ago. It was intended to end a fresh wave of in-fighting which left more than 30 people dead. Abbas signed the truce with the Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh.

The recent violence has been the worst between the two sides since Hamas defeated the long-dominant Fatah faction in an election a year ago. Efforts to bring the groups together in a unity government have so far failed.

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