World

Hamas, Fatah ignore ceasefire agreement

Palestinian factions in Gaza may have negotiated a truce on Friday, but it still hasn't taken hold.

Fighters loyal to Hamas and Fatah ignored a newly declared ceasefire and continued fighting on Saturday atPalestinian universities, security buildings and government offices.

Fatah gunmen stormed the Agriculture Ministry in Gaza City, ransacked offices and took up firing positions on the building's roof, said Agriculture Minister Mohammed al-Agha.

Another intense gun battle took place near the Fatah-controlled National Security headquarters. There were noreports of causalities overnight.

However,12 people had been wounded by late morning, hospital officials said, and Fatah said Hamas had kidnapped 40 of its security officials at roadblocks. Hamas reported one of its followers had been kidnapped.

Elsewhere,the sound of gunfire rang out for a third consecutive day at Islamic University, where Fatah claims to have seized a large cache of weapons on Friday.

In southern Gaza, gunmen stormed the Fatah-affiliated Al-Quds University campus in the town of Rafah, torching the student council building, university officials said.

Thetwo sides have been fighting for control of the Palestinian government since the Islamic militant group Hamas ousted Fatah from power in last year's elections.

Militants have essentially decided that Friday night's truce was only an agreement in principle, CBC's Peter Armstrong reported.

Palestinian officials said the deal was approved by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and Hamas's supreme leader, Khaled Mashaal. But the ceasefire,the second announced this week, showed no signs of taking hold.

Even before the gunfire intensified, the streets of Gaza City had been almost empty. And the UN said it would not reopen its schools in Gaza on Saturday after a midyear recess, as scheduled, because of the fighting,a decision that kept nearly 200,000 students at home.

More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in internal violence since Hamas, which rejects Israel's right to exist, won parliamentary elections a year ago and wrested power from Fatah, which advocates peacemaking with the Jewish state.

With files from the Associated Press

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