Palestinian militants agree to continue truce

Leaders of 13 Palestinian militant groups have agreed to continue the de facto truce launched last month at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit with Israel.

The decision came after three days of talks in Cairo with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, who had hoped for a formal, long-term ceasefire. But Islamic Jihad leaders rejected this plan, insisting they would "maintain the right to respond to any Israeli attacks if the Israelis do not stick to their commitments".

A group of 40 religious students from the settlement of Nahliel, near Ramallah, attacked eight labourers with clubs and stones, in a flare-up of settler violence against Palestinians. One of the wounded was taken to hospital in a serious condition.

The previous day, settlers in Hebron took sledgehammers to a Palestinian house next to a Jewish area. Israeli media have reported a plot to attack Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque to thwart government plans to disengage from the Gaza Strip.

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