Last updated: 23 April, 2014

Israel strikes Gaza shortly after Palestinian unity deal

An Israeli warplane struck the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday wounding six people, one very seriously, the territory’s Hamas rulers said.

The raid came as thousands took to the streets of Gaza City to celebrate the announcement by Hamas and the PLO of an agreement to form a unity government to end seven years of divided administration.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

The rival Palestinian movements had agreed shortly before the strike to form a unity government of independents within five weeks under the leadership of the West Bank-based Palestinian president.

“An agreement has been reached on the formation within five weeks of an independent government headed by president Mahmud Abbas,” said a joint statement read out by Hamas’s Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniya standing alongside a visiting delegation from the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

It was not the first time that the bitter rivals announced a deal to end their feud.

But the new bid by the Palestinian leadership to reconcile with the Islamists drew an angry reaction from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who said it showed it was not serious about 11th-hour efforts to salvage US-brokered peace negotiations.