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Palestinian Interior Minister Resigns After Fresh Violence


The Palestinian interior minister has resigned after some of the worst factional fighting in the Gaza Strip in months.

Hani Kawasmeh said Monday he had not been given adequate authority by the Palestinian unity government. He was picked as an independent compromise candidate when Hamas and Fatah leaders formed the government two months ago. Kawasmeh blamed both factions for failing to support his plan to reform the security forces.

Clashes between Fatah and Hamas have killed at least six people and wounded more than 50 others since Sunday. Fighting continued despite an Egyptian-mediated truce.

Palestinian Information Minister Mustapha Barghouti says the fighting threatens to cause the unity government to collapse.

Sunday's fighting began when gunmen killed a local commander of the Fatah-linked al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and his driver. The group blamed Hamas, which denied involvement.

Despite the latest violence, a senior European Union official says the Palestinian unity government is showing encouraging signs, but it is too early for a resumption of EU aid. EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told reporters in Brussels today the EU may decide next month whether to resume aid.

The EU and United States cut aid to the Palestinian Authority after the Islamic militant group Hamas took power last year over its refusal to renounce violence and recognize Israel. Hamas and the rival Fatah movement agreed in March to form the unity government in an attempt to regain international aid and end factional fighting.

Some information for this report was provided by reuters, AP.


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