After a day of violence, rival Palestinian factions in Gaza have agreed to a ceasefire. Running gun battles between supporters of Hamas and Fatah had earlier ripped the area apart in some of the worst clashes seen in the last three months. The killing of a senior commander of the Fatah-linked militant group the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades triggered the unrest, with gunmen thought to be from Hamas firing on the funeral procession.
Four people died in reprisal killings and 15 others are said to have been abducted as both sides blame each other for the fighting. Last February’s agreement in Mecca was supposed to bring peace to the area with the long-promised unity government being established soon afterwards in March.
It had been hoped that the recent deployment of Palestinian police in Gaza under a new security plan would curb the growing lawlessness and ease tensions between the two rival groups. In an attempt to calm things down, both sides have now said they will pull their gunmen off the streets.