In the Gaza Strip, a truce between the rival Fatah and Hamas groups has been announced after a daylong wave of factional violence that killed three people.
Despite the truce, armed militants continue patrolling the streets and the volatile coastal territory remains tense.
Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh accuses President Mahmoud Abbas of inflaming the political crisis by calling for early elections and says his Hamas group will boycott the poll. Abbas called for new elections to resolve a political deadlock since the hardline Hamas militants won January parliamentary elections.
Hamas' electoral victory split the Palestinian government, with Abbas seeking peace with Israel and Hamas refusing to even recognize the Jewish state's existence.
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)