Three gunmen killed in Gaza despite new Hamas-Fatah truce
Two Fatah militants, one Hamas gunmen among the dead; PA Chairman Abbas cancels planned visit to Gaza.
Three Palestinian gunmen were killed Thursday in clashes between Hamas and Fatah, despite the latest in a series of cease-fires aimed at halting this week's factional fighting.
A Hamas man was killed and two others critically wounded in clashes with the Fatah-linked Preventative Security Force. A short while later, two Fatah members were killed in clashes with Hamas in Rafah.
A Hamas member was shot and critically wounded in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, Hamas said.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas postponed a planned visit to Gaza that was aimed at easing tensions between the factions, Palestinian officials said Thursday.
A senior Palestinian official said Abbas, who had planned to meet with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas to try to shore up a shaky ceasefire, would wait for "a few days until the situation on the ground gets better."
At least 44 people, mostly Fatah members, have been killed since the fighting erupted Sunday. At least 17 people were killed on Wednesday alone, in the worst single day of fighting since Fatah and Hamas agreed to form a national unity government in February.
Fatah and Hamas officials immediately accused each other of violating the truce.
Hamas accused masked Fatah fighters of carrying out the attack in Gaza City. Fatah had no immediate response. Fatah separately accused Hamas gunmen of abducting five Fatah members in violation of the cease-fire.
Wednesday's dead included 10 members of Fatah, five Hamas members, and two civilians. Hamas and Fatah said that their men would hold fire as of 8:00 P.M. Wednesday but a Fatah man was killed in fighting after the cease-fire took effect.
A Palestinian government official said up to three unknown gunmen had fired on guards at the residence of Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh late on Wednesday, but hit no one.
The alleged incident at Haniyeh's home in Gaza's Beach refugee camp came near midnight.
"Three gunmen opened fire on the guards outside the prime minister's house," said the official, who spoke to Reuters on condition that he was not named. "Thankfully there were no injuries ... Security guards are now searching the area."
In a separate incident in the previous hour, Hamas's armed wing said in a statement that Abbas's Presidential Guards had shot dead a Hamas gunmen who was on guard duty in a Gaza street. No comment on the alleged shooting was immediately available from Abbas's office.