Palestinian factions meet in Gaza over rising Israel tensions

AFP, Wednesday 29 Dec 2010

Palestinian factions held a meeting yesterday to discuss Israel's recent air strikes on Gaza.

Hamas movement called a meeting of Palestinian factions overnight as tension rises along the border with Israel, a source said. In past weeks the Israeli military has launched air strikes.

At the meeting on Tuesday night, "the factions discussed the question of rocket fire and not providing the Israeli occupation with a pretext for increasing its aggression," a source with knowledge of the said .

"There was a consensus on the need to coordinate a response to the aggression," the source added, without providing additional detail.

The meeting included all the main Palestinian factions except Fatah, the bitter Hamas rival that the Islamist group drove out of power in Gaza in 2007, after they scored a landslide victory in parliamentary elections in 2006.

Khader Habib, a leader of the Islamic Jihad, said the meeting "discussed the growing Zionist threats to launch a new war against the Gaza Strip, and we agreed that the Palestinian people have the right to resistance to defend themselves."

The renewed tensions come just two years after Israel launched the devastating "Operation Cast Lead" in response to rocket fire from Gaza.

The war, which ended in a ceasefire on January 18, 2009, killed 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 13 Israelis.

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