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Fatah, Hamas agree to new cease-fire

Story Highlights

• Israel launches airstrike to retaliate for Qassam rocket attack
• Hamas, Fatah trying to maintain latest cease-fire deal
• Agreement is fifth this week, others lasting just hours
• Abbas, Haniyeh to meet "in the next few days," spokesman says
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GAZA CITY (CNN) -- A cease-fire was brokered Saturday between the rival Palestinian Hamas and Fatah parties -- the fifth such attempt at peace this week -- as rockets were fired into Israel following Israeli airstrikes overnight.

The cease-fire took effect at 3 p.m. (8 a.m. ET).

Israel Defense Forces said it monitored a Qassam rocket attack Saturday night that appeared to come from the vicinity of the Jabiliya refugee camp. A retaliatory airstrike was launched, and the target -- a militant cell of three men -- was believed destroyed, the IDF said.

There was no immediate word from the Palestinians on casualties. (Watch how the cease-fire is working Video)

Earlier Saturday, three Qassam rockets were fired into Israel, one of which damaged a building in a town south of Sderot. On Friday, officials said, 17 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza.

Israel Defense Forces carried out two airstrikes Friday night. One targeted two sites used to manufacture weaponry; the other, south of Beit Hanoun, targeted a group of militants believed to have launched a Qassam rocket on Sderot, an IDF spokesman said. (Watch what happens in a deadly workshop Video)

Palestinian medical sources said two Palestinian civilians were killed and four wounded in the second airstrike.

The Palestinians have accused Israel of taking advantage of its internal Hamas-Fatah fighting, while Israel maintains it is merely defending itself, given dozens of rockets fired from Gaza into the country in the past few days. In addition, an Israeli official said Friday that Hamas was increasing the rockets into Israel to draw an Israeli response, which would unite Palestinians.

On Friday, Sallai Meridor, Israel's ambassador to the United States, told reporters the Israeli response to the rockets has so far been "measured," but could grow harsher if the rockets continue. Officials said Friday that more than 90 rockets from Gaza have landed in Israel since Tuesday.

Palestinian security and medical sources said airstrikes killed 14 Palestinians on Thursday and Friday.

In the latest effort to quell the Palestinian internal fighting, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will visit Gaza "in the next few days" to meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, according to chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat. Abbas is a member of Fatah, while Haniyeh is a member of Hamas.

The violence between Fatah and Hamas has highlighted the weaknesses of the unity government formed earlier this year. Hamas came to power in parliamentary elections in January 2006 after more than a decade of Fatah rule over the Palestinian Authority.

But the United States and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist organization, and the European Union joined them in cutting off aid over the group's refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist.

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A Palestinian man holds his bleeding head after an Israeli airstrike on a minibus Friday in Gaza City.



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