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Report: Gaza groups agree on ceasefire
Hamas official says Egypt told militant groups Israel will only halt airstrikes if fire from Gaza stops, Hamas enforces ceasefire. But PRC spokesman rejects agreement, says Israel responsible for escalation of violence

A Hamas official in Gaza says that all of Gaza's militant groups have agreed to a cease-fire aimed at ending a three-day assault on Israel's southern communities.

 

The official says Egypt helped broker the cease-fire, which will go into effect Sunday evening. He says Egypt told the groups that Israel would halt its airstrikes only if the Palestinian groups stopped shooting first, and that Hamas security personnel would enforce the agreement.

 

South under fire:

 

But a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees immediately issued a statement saying the group would not accept a ceasefire agreement with Israel.

 

"Our stance is clear. We have no connection to the ceasefire agreement with the Zionist enemy," Abu Mujahed told a Palestinian news agency.

 

He said Israel had stepped up violence by assassinating members of the PRC and that it had to take responsibility for its actions. "We cannot accept a ceasefire while airstrikes continue to reverberate everywhere," Abu Mujahed said, adding that the ceasefire was "cursed".

 

Earlier an Islamic Jihad official said leaders of Gaza's militant groups convened in Cairo to discuss the possibility of a cease-fire with Israel. Just a short while after reports emerged of the meeting, two mortar shells were fired at Eshkol Regional Council, and Palestinian sources in Gaza reported airstrikes had resumed.

 

According to sources, seven people were injured in an Air Force bombing of a Hamas outpost. A training camp belonging to Al-Ahrar Brigades was also bombed, as well as an open area near Nuseirat refugee camp, reports say. No casualties were reported in the latter strikes.

  

In online messages published in forums linked to Hamas and Fatah, the Gaza Strip government allegedly informed all Palestinian factions about a lull agreement, calling them to stop firing at Israel, which reportedly goes into effect on 9 pm Sunday.

 

'Trying to spare people from agony of war'

According to Islamic Jihad official Ahmed Mudalal, the discussions were based on a lull agreement draft sent by United Nations envoy to the Middle East Robert Serry. Mudalal clarified that the Palestinian factions do not plan on handing Israel a lull agreement "free of charge," adding they will demand an immediate halt to Israel attacks in Gaza.

 

"The Islamic Jihad, as well as the rest of the Palestinian factions, are trying to spare our people from the agony of war," emphasized Mudalal. "However if it's enforced upon them, then the people must show patience and the resistance must protect ithem with all its might."

 

Meanwhile, Islamic Jihad's Secretary-General Ramadan Abdullah Shallah is said to be arriving in Cairo for consultations with Hamas and Egyptian officials, according to a report in Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper.

 

The report further stated that talks about a possible cease-fire had already started up on Saturday, after Hamas officials claimed they were not interested in escalating the already heated situation between them and Israel.

 

Quoting a top-ranking Palestinian official, the report claimed Hamas was trying to persuade the Islamic Jihad's military wing to stop attacking Israel.

 

However Jerusalem officials claimed Sunday they have no knowledge of such plans for a cease-fire or a lull agreement with the Palestinians.

 

 

 


First published: 21.08.11, 16:59
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