Gunmen fire on Palestinian cabinet building
The latest truce between Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip appeared shattered Monday asgunmen opened fire at the cabinet building while the government was meeting inside.
Less than a day earlier — late Sunday — the warring Fatah and Hamas factions had reached a new Egyptian-mediated truce deal in the latest attempt to halt renewed bloodshed that hasthreatened the three-month-old coalition government.
There were no reports of injuries in Monday's attack. An official in the office of Prime Minister Ishmail Haniyeh, of Hamas,said the gunfire didn't disturb the cabinet meeting, and that security officials weretrying to pin down the source of fire.
The attackcame amid reports of Hamas loyalists trading sporadic gunfire in the streets with gunmen loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatahmovement.
Fatah gunmen also fired shots at theprime minister'shouse in Gaza City on Sunday night, but no casualties were reported.
The new pactwas aimed at endingrenewed violence, which has since Saturday alonekilled at least six people and wounded dozens. The dead included a Hamas imam who was executed at the front of his mosque and a Fatah-linked security official who was shot and thrown fromthe roof of a high building.
The truce was declared to allow Palestinian students to write their final exams.
The battles have been sparked by an ongoing dispute over who will control security forces within the deeply fractured coalition government.
A deal to form a coalition government was finalized in early February, more than a year after the Palestinian Authority election that saw Hamas oustthe long-dominant Fatah party.
The Hamas government was forced to form a coalition amid aWestern-led boycott that shut off billions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians and after monthsof violencebetween Hamas and Fatah supporters.