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20 Dec, 2006 03:31

Hamas withdraws militants form Gaza City streets

Hamas withdraws militants form Gaza City streets

Hamas security forces have started withdrawing from the streets of Gaza City and freeing hostages under a new ceasefire deal between the two rival parties that took effect at 9pm GMT on Tuesday.

Both President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Haniyeh have urged Palestinian forces to observe the deal and end the week-long fighting

However, minutes after the deal was established, residents of Gaza City reported an exchange of fire between gunmen.

Internal violence in Gaza has intensified after Abbas called for new elections to try to break a political deadlock with the Hamas government. In all, 14 people have died in the clashes, one of the deadliest bouts of Palestinian in-fighting.