Hopes of peace in the Middle East have further dwindled with the announcement by a Palestinian armed group that it is ending its informal truce with Israel.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades said they would no longer observe the ceasefire after one of their activists was killed by Israeli soldiers. Samer al-Saadi was killed during an army incursion into the West Bank town of Jenin early this morning. Two members of another radical movement, Islamic Jihad, also died in what the Israelis described as a gunfight in the Birqin neighbourhood west of Jenin. Violence has flared in the Palestinian territories since a deadly blast at a Hamas rally last week which triggered rocket attacks on Israel. Meanwhile Palestinians have been voting in the third phase of local elections in the West Bank. Hamas is expected to repeat its success in previous rounds. That would pile more pressure on the Palestinian Authority and further diminish the chances of holding peace talks with Israel.