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Palestinian Security Deploys in Southern Gaza Strip

Thousands of Palestinian police have begun deploying in the southern Gaza Strip.

Palestinian authorities say security forces headed for two of the most volatile areas Friday - the refugee camps of Khan Younis and Rafah. Militants there have launched rocket and mortar attacks at Israeli troops and Jewish settlements.

Shortly after the Palestinian security move, Israeli army chief General Moshe Yaalon ordered his troops to halt operations in all areas of the Gaza Strip where Palestinian police are deployed.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Thursday conditions are right for a "historic breakthrough" in the Middle East peace process because of steps taken by the new Palestinian leadership.

Mr. Sharon told a group of Israeli businessmen, Israel would be willing to advance the peace process if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is able to stop terror attacks.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.