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Rival Palestinians Clash Hours After Gaza Ceasefire Takes Effect


Palestinian witnesses say at least two people were killed during a pre-dawn clash between rival Fatah and Hamas factions in the Gaza Strip, hours after the two sides agreed to a new ceasefire.

Witnesses say the victims were Fatah security men, who were killed when an anti-tank missile was fired at a police post in Gaza City.

Hours earlier, gunmen left Gaza's streets as the truce between forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and to the Hamas movement of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh took effect at 2100 UTC, Tuesday.

The ceasefire was announced, after both Mr. Abbas and Mr. Haniyeh made separate appeals for an end to the fighting. It is the second truce between the rival factions since Sunday.

The factions have been in locked a power struggle since Hamas won parliamentary elections in January.

In a seperate development, Israeli troops killed two Palestinian militants near the West Bank town of Jenin early Wednesday. The Israeli military says the Islamic Jihad militants were shot dead as they tried to flee a building surrounded by Israeli troops.

In another development, the Israeli army has suspended two soldiers involved in Tuesday's shooting death of a Palestinian girl in the West Bank. The army says it is investigating the circumstances of the incident in which the teenage girl was shot close to Israel's separation barrier near the Palestinian town of Tulkarem.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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