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Palestinians Observe Strike Called by Fatah in Hamas-Ruled Gaza


Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have observed a one-day general strike called by Fatah leaders in defiance of the territory's Hamas rulers.

Many shops were closed in Gaza Sunday, while many parents did not send their children to school.

The Fatah-dominated Palestine Liberation Organization called the strike after Hamas militiamen used clubs against Fatah activists who held outdoor prayer rallies in Gaza on Friday.

Fatah lost control of Gaza to Hamas in fighting three months ago, confining Fatah's authority to the West Bank. Hamas leaders in Gaza dismissed today's general strike as "pointless."

Also today, Fatah-dominated security forces in the West Bank city of Hebron used force to break up a rally by pro-Hamas students.

The Palestinian security forces beat around 20 students who were protesting outside Hebron University against a rise in tuition fees. At least one journalist covering the incident also was beaten.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expelled Hamas from the government after the militants seized Gaza in June. He then formed a new Fatah-led government based in the West Bank.

Mr. Abbas' new cabinet has been embraced by the West and Israel, while the Hamas government in Gaza is isolated internationally.

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

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