GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday called on Palestinian militant groups to maintain a shaky cease-fire due to expire on Dec. 31, saying attacks on Israelis were counterproductive.
Abbas spoke a day after Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said that the militant group should not renew the truce, or "calm," which has sharply reduced hostilities since it was brokered in February.
There have been occasional flare-ups of violence, however, including one in Gaza in recent weeks, in which militants have launched rockets and mortar shells at Israel, provoking retaliatory airstrikes and targeted killings of Gaza militants.
"We should move ahead with this calm until security and stability have been reached in the homeland, until our people feel no fear from the threat of tanks and aircraft," Abbas said at a ceremony in Gaza City where Palestinians laid the ground for a U.S.-funded courts complex.
"Anyone who commits acts of provocation against others, especially against Israel, should know that he is acting in an irresponsible way against the interests of his homeland and against the interests of his own people," Abbas added.