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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tenuous Gaza Cease-Fire Falters

GAZA STRIP -- Gunmen shot dead a Hamas commander in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and the Islamist group blamed a Fatah-dominated security service for the first killing in the territory since a cease-fire went into effect overnight.

Hospital officials in the southern town of Khan Younis said Hussein Shabasi was shot in the head.

A spokesman for Hamas' armed wing said he was killed by the Preventive Security Service, most of whose members belong to President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction. The security service denied any connection to his death.

The cease-fire had appeared to be holding, bringing people out of their homes for the first time in five days as shops reopened and traffic again clogged Gaza's narrow streets.

The truce took effect after Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas met an aide to Abbas on Monday in a bid to stem a surge of fighting in which at least 30 Palestinians were killed.

The internal violence that began on Thursday was the fiercest since Islamist Hamas, which rejects peace talks with Israel, trounced the more moderate Fatah in an election last year, triggering a Western aid embargo.

"We are very happy and we hope that this time, the cease-fire will last," said Yahya Zaki, a clothing store owner.

Some gunmen remained on the streets in the Gaza Strip and police deployment was limited.

The bloodshed has derailed unity government talks between Hamas and Fatah and prompted some Gaza families to flee their homes.

"I hope that calm and stability will last so that we can resume dialogue over formation of a national unity government," Haniyeh said.

Previous cease-fires, including one last month, have been short lived.