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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 01:22 GMT 02:22 UK
Palestinian factions pledge calm
Fatah fighters in Gaza
Three people were killed in Hamas-Fatah clashes on Monday
Leaders of rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah say they have agreed moves to end fighting between them.

Palestinian PM Ismail Haniya, of Hamas, was flanked by a Fatah spokesman as he announced the two sides would try to fix their differences through dialogue.

Rival gunmen have clashed three times in the last two days, killing three and injuring many, including five children.

Tensions between the two groups have risen since Hamas won the Palestinian elections in January.

Their leaders met in Gaza City on Tuesday night for talks that lasted for more than four hours.

Afterwards, Mr Haniya said both parties understood the need for dialogue, while a spokesman for Fatah said they would work to keep gunmen off the streets.

The BBC's Alan Johnston in Gaza says it is not clear how genuine and far-reaching this show of apparent goodwill will be.

The deep ideological differences between the two well-armed groups present a constant threat of violence, he adds.

Funeral attack

Intense rivalries have been building between the two factions since Hamas defeated Fatah in the elections.

In the latest violence, at least nine people were hurt, among them five schoolchildren, in a clash between Hamas and Fatah members in Gaza City early on Tuesday.

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Later, Hamas gunmen attacked the funeral procession of a Fatah member killed during fighting on Monday.

The attack left two Fatah members wounded.

A day earlier, three people were killed in clashes between the two groups near the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis.

Talks over the weekend between Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, of Fatah, and Mr Haniya had failed to reach any resolution.

The recent clashes are seen as the most serious internal Palestinian violence since Hamas defeated Fatah and formed a government.

Hamas is in power, but Mr Abbas retains official control over the Palestinian security services.

US and EU aid to the Palestinians was suspended after Hamas took office in March.

But on Tuesday, Middle East mediators announced an agreement to set up an interim internal mechanism to resume the delivery of aid.

The shortage of funds has brought warnings of rising insecurity and poverty among the Palestinians.




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