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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 May 2007, 22:12 GMT 23:12 UK
Palestinians agree Gaza ceasefire
A Palestinian policeman
A series of truces has failed to stop Gaza's violence
The rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah have embarked on another ceasefire as they attempt to end an upsurge in fighting in the Gaza Strip.

It is the fifth such truce since violence broke out last Sunday. Since then about 50 people have died.

Gunmen climbed down from rooftop positions and dismantled roadblocks as the ceasefire began to take effect.

Meanwhile four Palestinians were killed in Gaza by Israeli air strikes. Israel said it was targeting rocket launchers.

Three died in northern Gaza after Israel launched an air strike in the morning.

The Israeli army said the raid had targeted "three members of a Qassam rocket-launching cell that had just fired a rocket towards Israel".

Palestinian residents said the dead men were shepherds with no connection to the rocket attacks.

A building in Gaza hit by an Israeli air strike
Israel has resumed air strikes on targets in Gaza
Later, in the evening, another Palestinian was killed in the Jabaliya refugee camp by an Israeli strike.

Reuters quoted an Israeli spokesman saying the attack targeted militants, while Hamas said the deceased was teenager with no militant links, the Associated Press reported.

Israel's Defence Minister Amir Peretz has said attacks on the Hamas movement in Gaza will continue until rocket attacks on Israel stop.

Israel resumed air strikes on Tuesday after a six-month lull, following repeated rocket attacks on Israel.

Mr Peretz said militants who fired rockets on Israeli border towns should be "very afraid".

Official attacked

Saturday's ceasefire came into effect at 1500 local time (1200 GMT), after which roadblocks were taken down, and some of the strip's frightened residents began to re-emerge onto the streets.

While there were signs that the truce was being observed, however, there were still incidents of violence.

After the ceasefire was announced, but before it came into effect, a convoy carrying a senior Fatah member came under fire.

Security sources said Mohammad al-Masri, President Mahmoud Abbas's intelligence chief in the Gaza Strip, was unhurt in the attack.

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