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Gaza: Excluded from militia meeting Fatah calls for unity

Dec. 30, 2010 2:30 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 31, 2010 2:00 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- The Al-Aqsa Brigades, which claim affinity to the Fatah party, urged other factions to unite Thursday, following a meeting called by Hamas to discuss with Gaza militant groups a unified stance to an increase in violence along the border.

Fatah and its militant wing were not invited to the meeting.

In its statement released in the wake of the meeting, the brigades said they were "prepared to face any attack against Gaza," and added that a united resistance would mean a stronger position against Israel.

Israeli news reports quoted officials from Islamic Jihad saying all factions present had agreed to halt projectile fire toward Israel. "We agreed to halt one of the means of armed resistance, which is firing rockets at Israel, to avoid the Israeli threats," Dawood Shihab was quoted as saying, adding that the decision was temporary and "linked to the situation on the ground."

"But the armed resistance will keep active in other means such as confronting raids and incursions," he continued.

Islamic Jihad leader Nafeth A’zam told Ma'an Thursday, "the stance of the movement goes in harmony with the general Palestinian position," and added that fighters would "confront any offense against the Palestinians."

On Wednesday, Khader Habib, a leader of the Islamic Jihad, told said the meeting was called to discuss "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."
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