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Palestinian Factions Continue to Battle in Gaza


Palestinian officials in the Gaza Strip say a Hamas gunman has died in a clash between members of the militant group and Palestinian Authority security forces.

Shooting broke out Wednesday in the town of Khan Younis after Hamas members ambushed Rifat Kulab, the local security chief, who was severely wounded.

In the West Bank, scores of Palestinian government workers stormed the parliament building in Ramallah Wednesday, demanding long-overdue wages. They hurled water bottles and paper at the lawmakers.

In Gaza City Wednesday, President Mahmoud Abbas of the once dominant Fatah party, met with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, of rival Hamas. The two agreed that a Hamas militia will be integrated into the Palestinian police force.

In other news, Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar, who has been raising money for the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority, crossed into the Gaza Strip from Egypt on Wednesday carrying a suitcase with $20 million in cash.

Palestinian civil servants have received no salary payments since February. Many international donors have suspended financial aid to the Palestinian Authority because Hamas refuses to recognize Israel and renounce violence.

The meeting between Mr. Haniyeh and Mr. Abbas comes at the beginning of a week-long dialogue aimed at stemming violence between rival Palestinian factions.

Faction leaders will also seek agreement on a plan for a two-state solution with Israel that implicitly recognizes the Jewish state. Mr. Abbas has endorsed the plan, while Hamas opposes it.

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