WORLD / Middle East

Abbas sets date for referendum
Updated: 2006-06-11 10:07

Haniyeh, repeating Hamas' rejection of the vote, said that he had agreed to meet with Abbas again on Sunday, and that dialogue would continue.

Palestinians will be asked to vote "yes" or "no" on the document, which polls show enjoys wide support among Palestinians, partly because of the clout of its authors.

Accepting it could give Hamas, which is officially sworn to Israel's destruction, an avenue for moderating its ways.

So far the group has not budged from its refusal to recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept past peace accords. Israel and the international community require those steps before they will deal with the group.

Hamas claimed responsibility Saturday for firing at least 15 rockets and a barrage of mortar shells at Israel -- essentially ending its 16-month truce.

The army said more than two dozen homemade rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel on Saturday. No casualties were reported.

Israel's army chief expressed regret for Friday's civilian deaths, but stopped short of accepting responsibility for the incident. Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz said an investigation was still underway, and it was still not clear what caused the deaths.

The investigation had so far ruled out gunboats and an airstrike, but it is still possible Israeli artillery or even a misfired Palestinian rocket caused the deaths, Halutz said.

Abbas condemned the killings as a "genocidal crime." Haniyeh called the shelling a "war crime" and called for an end to Hamas-Fatah fighting.
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