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Fatah-Hamas Clashes Renew in Gaza
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A Palestinian young man was killed and three others were wounded on Monday night as clashes between supporters of the rival mainstream Hamas and Fatah movements renewed in northern Gaza Strip, local medics said.

It is the first death since it was announced on Sunday night that the two clashing rival movements agreed to cease-fire, end all arming phenomenon and pullout militants of both sides from the streets.

The medics said that Ahmed Zeyada, a 21-year-old Fatah supporter was killed and three others were wounded by Hamas militants' gunfire.

The incident occurred after unknown Hamas militants abducted Hilal Yaghi, the brother of Allaa Yaghi, a Fatah lawmaker in the Hamas-dominant Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), witnesses said.

Following the abduction, Fatah movement abducted three Hamas members and gathered them into a local Fatah social institution in Jablaia area, said the witnesses, adding that Hamas militants came back and opened fire at the gathering.

During the shooting at the institution building, one young man was killed and three wounded, they added.

Meanwhile, kidnapping and exchange of fire also erupted in the Gaza Strip following one week of violence, during which at least 12 people were killed and more than 30 wounded.

Eyewitnesses said that near the compound of President Mahmoud Abbas in western Gaza Strip, Abbas' bodyguards opened fire at a group of Hamas militants who tried to approach one of the checkpoints. No injuries were reported.

In another development, former Palestinian cabinet minister Sofian Abu Zayda was released unharmed Monday night, security sources said.

Abu Zayda, a senior official of the Fatah movement, was freed one hour after he was abducted by Hamas militants near his home in northern Gaza Strip.

Fatah spokesman Tawfeek Abu Khusa said earlier that Hamas gunmen kidnapped Abu Zayda, former minister of Prisoners' Affairs in the government led by Fatah.

Hamas armed wing termed the release as "a goodwill gesture."

At midnight on Sunday, senior Palestinian officials announced that an agreement was reached between the rival Hamas and Fatah to end the bloody clashes in Gaza Strip.

However, the truce was not being fully honored, as Fatah and Hamas forces still faced off in gunbattle on Monday on several occasions.

Different Palestinian factions, as well as Egypt and Yemen, have been mediating between the two fighting movements. All efforts had apparently failed after kidnappings and exchange of fire renewed on Monday evening.

(Xinhua News Agency December 19, 2006)

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