JERUSALEM (AP) -- After two days of internal Palestinian fighting, thousands of mourners attended funerals Saturday for six of those killed. At one point, they formed a human chain to prevent any further outbursts of violence.
The six separate funerals in and around Gaza City all took place without incident, as Palestinian leaders called for an end to some of the worst Palestinian infighting in years.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's recent call for an end to attacks against Israel, followed by a crackdown carried out by the Palestinian security forces, led to violence that left seven Palestinians dead and nearly 100 injured on Thursday and Friday.
The militant group Hamas announced Friday it was halting attacks inside Israel, including suicide bombings, to help ensure Palestinian unity.
Islamic Jihad, another group that has carried out multiple suicide bombings, distributed leaflets at Saturday's funerals saying it would do its part to preserve Palestinian unity. However, the group has not said explicitly that attacks have been suspended.
"Islamic Jihad desires to work in order to protect the Palestinian national interest," Nafez Azzam, one of the group's top leaders, told The Associated Press on Saturday.
Asked if that meant that the suicide bombings against Israel would cease, Azzam said that that was a decision for the group's military wing, but added that "as a politician I believe we have to work to protect our national unity."
As one of the funeral processions for an Islamic Jihad supporter moved past a police station, members of the group joined hands to form a line and prevent anyone in the crowd from advancing toward the station.
Meanwhile, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that with Palestinians pledging to halt attacks, the next move was up to Israel.
The Hamas announcement was seen as a victory for the beleaguered Arafat.
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