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Four international mediators in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians will gather for their next meeting in Cairo June 26-27
Four international mediators in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians will gather for their next meeting in Cairo June 26-27, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday. The meeting of foreign ministers from Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations will be preceded by a session of the mediators' special envoys in Washington next week, Russian envoy Sergei Yakovlev said. The quartet negotiations come against the backdrop of intensified sectarian violence in the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) between the two parties in the now questionable ruling coalition - the pro-presidential Fatah and radical Islamic movement Hamas. Clashes resumed June 7, breaking yet again a ceasefire signed two weeks earlier. Hamas demanded that Fatah and affiliated structures leave Gaza, and Fatah leaders ordered the suppression of the "Islamist rebellion" and suspended their coalition membership with Hamas. The violence reached a peak Tuesday in Jebalia in northern Gaza when Hamas militants seized the security headquarters controlled by the PNA head and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. At least 28 Palestinians died in the clashes Tuesday, and nine were killed Wednesday, although Hamas is trying to conceal its losses. The armed confrontation has seen such atrocities as people being thrown from tall buildings, shot in the streets, and the wounded being killed in hospitals. Since early 2006, when Hamas won parliamentary elections and deprived Fatah of its long-time monopoly on power, the clashes between the two leading political forces have claimed 650 lives, as many as the PNA has lost in the same period from Israeli military operations.
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