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Sporadic Violence in Palestinian Territories as Blair Meets Israeli Leaders


Sporadic violence continued in the Gaza Strip, early Monday - hours after the Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah agreed to a truce to end several days of fighting. VOA's Jim Teeple reports British Prime Minister Tony Blair held talks Monday with Israeli leaders, before meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, later in the day.

So far, the truce has stopped the all-out fighting that engulfed the Gaza Strip, Sunday. However, sporadic outbreaks of violence continued early Monday, as Hamas and Fatah gunmen faced off against each other.

Violence erupted following Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' call for new elections, Saturday. Hamas - which won legislative elections in January - opposes Mr. Abbas's plan for new elections. Mr. Abbas says unity government talks between Fatah and Hamas are over, but a key negotiator in the process, Marwan Barghouti, says more time is needed.

"Elections will not solve the problem," he said. "There can be no elections without national consensus."

Mahmoud Abbas meets British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Monday. Mr. Blair, who also held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said he backed Mr. Abbas' call for new elections, saying the Palestinian president is a key leader in the fight against regional extremism.

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