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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 May 2007, 04:37 GMT 05:37 UK
Militants reject Gaza truce call
Palestinian children inspect damage following an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip's Jabalia refugee cam
Militants say there will be no ceasefire until Israel stops air strikes
Palestinian militants have rejected a call by President Mahmoud Abbas to restore a ceasefire with Israel and stop violence between rival factions.

Mr Abbas held talks in Gaza with Prime Minister Ismail Haniya in a bid to bolster a fragile Palestinian truce.

But there was no halt in fighting in the Gaza Strip with Israel targeting money changers in several air raids.

In the West Bank, Israeli troops made a string of arrests - including that of the Palestinian education minister.


Naser el-Deen al Shaer was arrested by soldiers who knocked at the door of his home in the city of Nablus, his wife said.

He was among several senior Hamas members who were detained by Israeli troops.

A former Cabinet minister, Abdel Rahman Zeidan, two lawmakers and the mayors of the towns of Nablus, Qalqiliya and Beita were also arrested.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed that an "arrest operation" had taken place.

A spokesman for the militant factions rejected Mr Abbas' call for a ceasefire made after emergency talks in Gaza.

"We cannot surrender to blackmail as planes are overhead," said Ibrahim Abu An-Naja.

"We want a comprehensive calm that covers the Palestinian areas, both north and south," he added.

A truce signed in November did not cover Gaza and the occupied West Bank.


The representatives of the Palestinian factions said they would take the proposals from Wednesday's meeting back to their parties before responding formally to the president within two days.

The emergency discussions between Mr Abbas and representatives from the five parties involved in inter-factional fighting came hours after Israel carried out more air strikes, hitting what it said were buildings used by Hamas militants to store weapons.

Israeli officials have repeated threats to widen their list of targets to include Hamas political leaders.

At least two people were injured in the latest Israeli attacks in Gaza, which targeted money transfer stores. Israel says they are used by militants to channel money from abroad.

Israeli attacks in Gaza have killed more than 30 Palestinians over the last week, at least 11 of them civilians.

Over the same period, Palestinian militants have fired more than 120 rockets into Israel, killing one civilian and injuring at least 16 others.

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