Gunmen climbed down from rooftop positions in Gaza late May 19, as Hamas and Fatah leaders agreed to end a week of factional bloodshed in in response to new Israeli airstrikes on the Strip. May 19 marked a fifth day of strikes in response to Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli border towns. Several Hamas-Fatah cease-fires have been broken, but Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said he expected this one to stick because of Israel’s military action. “No one would accept to fight one another while the Israelis are shelling Gaza,” he said. The Palestinian news agency WAFA said the new airstrikes killed 14 and injured 75, including children.
Some 50 have been killed in Hamas-Fatah clashes over the past week, and a further 23 killed in Israeli attacks—not counting the May 19 strikes. Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz vows to keep up the military pressure on Hamas militants, warning them to be “very afraid.” However, he denied Israel is planning to re-occupy the Gaza Strip. “A large-scale land incursion into Gaza does not serve Israel’s security,” Peretz told the Israel Radio. (WAFA, Xinhua, AP, May 20)