Cease-fire Between Al-Fatah, Hamas

In Palestine, the rift between Hamas and al-Fatah came to a tentative end on Sunday night.

Cease-fire Between Al-Fatah, Hamas

Ibrahim Abu Naji, chair of the higher council formed by Palestinian groups, and Hamas spokesperson Ismail Ridvan confirmed that a truce has been accorded between the two parties.

According to reports, the parties agreed to release those kidnapped and initiate negotiations with the intent of forming a national unity government.

Tension escalated by last week's attack on Prime Minister Ismael Haniye further deteriorated after President Mahmoud Abbas declared early elections on Sunday.

While skirmishes broke out between the groups, one died and five were wounded in an attack on the training camp of presidential guard forces in Gaza.

Following the raid, groups supporting Abbas-led al-Fatah and security forces gathered around the Palestinian leader's bureau in Gaza.

While security sources indirectly held Hamas responsible for the attack on the training camp, they stressed that the attackers wore uniforms similar to those worn by Hamas members.

As Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, Palestinian television claimed that the attackers were Hamas militants. Stressing that they had nothing to do with the attack, spokesperson of Hamas' armed wing Abu Ubeyde called the accusation wrong and irresponsible.

In an effort to guard the president following the attack, al-Fatah members and security forces gathered around his bureau in Gaza.

At night, three mortar shells reportedly struck nearby the building, causing six wounded. Observers stressed that the attack was the first one against Abbas's select guard force of 3,500.

Presidential security guards also took safety measures at the agricultural and transportation ministries. After the incident, Hamas and al-Fatah forces entered into armed conflict in the Gaza Strip. A Hamas spokesperson noted that the convoy of Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar was fired on while passing by a ministerial building in Gaza.

The spokesperson described the incident as an assassination plot. Reports indicate that Hamas members, provoked by the alleged plot, attacked Mahmoud Abbas' headquarters in Gaza.

Since President Mahmoud Abbas called for early elections, tension between al-Fatah and Hamas has spread to the West Bank.

In Gaza, Hamas' armed wing, the Izzeddin al-Qassam brigades, targeted a general of the Fatah Party's al-Aqsa Martyr brigades.

In response, the al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades kidnapped two Hamas leaders in Nablus.

Fighting erupted at an al-Fatah support rally for Abbas at the Jabaliya refugee camp. Nine people, including several children, were wounded in the fighting.

The violence ended after leaders from Hamas and Fatah agreed to a tenuous ceasefire. Ibrahim Abu Naji told the AFP, "All groups have reached an agreement to end the violence and ensure a ceasfire." Hamas spokesman Ismail Ridvan confirmed the decision.

Another Hamas official told Reuters that both sides had agreed to hold talks for a national unity government, to end violent protests, release hostages and put an end to raids on government buildings.

Hamas will not participate in the elections

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya believes early elections would be a prelude to chaos and refused to participate. He described Abbas' call for early elections as, "provocative and insulting to Palestinian pains."

The secretary general of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Mahir Tahir, said they would not participate in the elections because it was unfair and unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, according to poll conducted on Dec. 14 by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 61 percent of 1,270 people surveyed supported early elections while 37 percent did not.

The poll also placed Abbas and Haniyeh in a statistical tie in a presidential race. Abbas would win 46 percent and Haniyah would win 45 percent.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16