Report: Hamas, Fatah agree to end factional fighting
Deal follows two days of violent clashes in Gaza
Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (right) and Fatah's Ahmed Halaf announce the accord.
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GAZA CITY (CNN) -- Rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah have agreed to end the violence that has raged between them for two days, according to a statement from Fatah's Ahmed Halaf obtained by Palestinian news agency Ramattan.
The agreement came after a lengthy meeting between the two sides.
The statement said that Palestinian police will enforce the agreement, arresting anyone found carrying weapons. The two sides agreed to form committees to deal with the problems between them by negotiation.
The latest skirmishes took place Tuesday in the Gaza City neighborhood of El-Tufah after Hamas militants kidnapped a member of Fatah, Palestinian security sources said. Fatah militants have since taken five members of Hamas.
Injured in the fighting were five adults, including three militants, and five children, hospital officials said.
Fighting between the groups early Monday left three militants dead and 10 others wounded near the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis.
Killed in the hours-long battle were two members of Fatah and one from Hamas.
The groups have been involved in periodic clashes since Hamas won parliamentary elections in January. Until that ballot, Fatah -- the party of former leader Yasser Arafat -- was the dominant force in Palestinian politics.
Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel.
The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, belongs to Fatah, and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday her government has "the deepest respect" for Abbas.
Earlier Tuesday, Rice said the United States will provide $10 million in new medical assistance to Palestinians. (Full story)
And under a proposal unveiled Tuesday and backed by the United States, the European Union will develop a "temporary mechanism" to deliver humanitarian aid directly to the Palestinian people, bypassing their Hamas-led government.
The United States, European Union and other Palestinian donors have said they won't deal with the Hamas-led government unless it recognizes Israel, renounces violence and adheres to agreements with Israel brokered by the previous Palestinian government.
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