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Top Israelis Huddle to Assess Hamas' Political Threat


Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has called a meeting of top military and political officials to discuss the possibility that the radical Hamas movement may make strong gains in upcoming Palestinian elections.

Hamas, whose military wing has claimed scores of attacks against Israel, has called for the destruction of the Jewish state. Surveys ahead of Wednesday's polls show a Hamas slate almost even with Fatah candidates.

Sunday, Israeli cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi was quoted by Reuters as saying that Hamas' presence in a post-election Palestinian Authority would have a "tragic impact" on any future peace talks.

Separately, a published report says the United States is providing financial assistance to boost political support for the ruling Fatah movement.

The Washington Post says the U.S. Agency for International Development is using about $2 million to promote the Palestinian Authority ahead of the polls.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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