The leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization has urged militant groups to end attacks against Israel, as the Israeli government said the military now has free rein to battle militants in the Gaza Strip.
The executive committee of the PLO said on Sunday militant violence harms Palestinian national interest because it gives Israel an excuse to obstruct Palestinian security. The statement came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon accused newly-elected Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of doing nothing to curb attacks on Israelis. He said the Israeli military could now "act without restraint" in Gaza. Hours later, Palestinian medics said Israeli tank fire in southern Gaza killed a man and his mother. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military. Mr. Abbas has denounced violence on both sides. He is due to meet with militants in Gaza Wednesday.