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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fatah, Hamas Fight On After Truce

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Gunmen of the rival Hamas and Fatah movements traded fire Monday, killing two Fatah fighters and wounding at least 10 people despite an agreement to end the violence that is jeopardizing a power-sharing deal between them.

The latest clashes erupted in several locations in the coastal strip and brought the toll to six dead and 52 wounded in 24 hours, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

Among the dead were two employees of a Hamas-affiliated newspaper who were shot after being pulled out of a taxi at a Fatah roadblock Sunday, Hamas said. If confirmed, this tactic would mark a further escalation and likely provoke more execution-style killings.

Israel's Security Cabinet, meanwhile, decided to hold off on a major military operation in Gaza.

The decision came after talks Sunday over how to respond to intensifying rocket fire from Gaza and the army's warnings that Hamas is stockpiling weapons smuggled into the strip.

Instead, the army was given permission to step up targeted attacks against those firing the rockets, Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said.

"The decision to go into Gaza, to occupy Gaza is one that can be taken at any time but we have to understand its significance," Peretz told Israel Radio.

"We, the government, need to examine, what are the consequences of each and every action and ... [whether] we want to play into the hands of those extremists who are interested in bringing about escalation."

In Gaza, an Egyptian security delegation brought Hamas and Fatah together Sunday night and got them to agree to withdraw forces and exchange captives.

But hours later, Fatah said Hamas attacked one of its offices in Gaza City, firing automatic weapons and hurling grenades. Hamas said Fatah men attacked a roadblock manned by its militiamen.

Hospital officials said two Fatah men were killed and 10 people from both sides were wounded.

Masked fighters could be seen in the streets of Gaza City. At midday, the fighting had subsided, but the atmosphere remained tense. Hundreds of masked men from the pro-Fatah National Security force took up positions around Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' headquarters and patrolled the area on foot and in Russian-made armored vehicles.

Abbas, of Fatah, was at his main headquarters in the West Bank.

Hamas and Fatah set up a coalition government in March, with the goal of ending months of bloody clashes between forces loyal to the two sides. But a new round of violence followed last week's deployment of 3,000 police in Gaza from forces loyal to Abbas, over Hamas objections.

The latest escalation began Sunday, when a shooting ambush blamed on Hamas killed a Fatah militant commander and his bodyguard.

In a firefight that followed, Suleiman Ashi, 26, a reporter for the Hamas-affiliated newspaper the Palestine Daily, was pulled from a taxi by Fatah gunmen and shot, the newspaper said. He and another employee of the newspaper wounded in the incident died later of their wounds.

In another incident Sunday, masked gunmen abducted a well-known religious scholar from Hamas in Gaza City. He was released after three hours, Hamas said.