Anti-Hamas Fatah activists protest in Gaza

Published on Jan 28, 2006 12:22 PM IST

Poll-related violence broke out on Friday, when an argument between about 20 Hamas and Fatah loyalists in Gaza town.

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None | ByAssociated Press, Gaza City

Thousands of Fatah supporters burned cars and shot in the air in demonstrations across the Gaza Strip on Friday.

They demanded the resignation of corrupt party officials after their punishing electoral defeat and insisting there be no coalition with the victorious Hamas.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would ask Hamas to form the next government -- a move that could lead to a cut off of crucial foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority if the Islamic militants do not renounce violence.

Acting Israeli PM Ehud Olmert told Jordan's King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that Israel will not have contacts with a Hamas-led government, according to a statement from Olmert's office.

Acting Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni appealed to the international community not to legitimise a Hamas government, saying elections "are not a whitewash for terror".

Election related violence broke out on Friday morning, when an argument between about 20 Hamas and Fatah loyalists in Gaza town of Khan Younis degenerated into gunfire that left three people injured, one with gunshot wounds and two with minor injuries.

A second gunbattle broke out in Khan Younis between Hamas supporters and Fatah loyalists tearing down Hamas election posters.

One police officer and one Hamas supporter were wounded, police said.

The vote exposed deep tensions within Palestinian society and was a clear rebuke to Abbas' Fatah Party for its corruption and inability to maintain order in Palestinian towns.

Ahead of the election, veteran Fatah leaders, those most tainted by corruption allegations, resisted repeated calls for party reform by the Fatah young guard.

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