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Ban Says Palestinians Must Unite to Revive Peace Talks


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on Palestinians to show a united front to help revive stalled Mideast peace talks.

Mr. Ban told reporters in Vienna it will be "crucially important" for Palestinians to be united among themselves so that negotiations with Israel can move forward.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas has, at times, been in open armed conflict against Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Meanwhile, in Jerusalem Friday, some 90,000 Muslims worshipped at Islam's third holiest site, as part of the holy month of Ramadan. Israel forces patrolled the streets and banned Palestinian men under the age of 50 and women under the age of 45 from entering the Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Police reported no significant security incidents. In the past, Friday prayers in Jerusalem during Ramadan have been a scene for violence.

Ramadan is observed as a period of fasting and spiritual reflection for Muslims. The holy month will continue through September, concluding with a celebration, Eid al-Fitr.

Also Friday, Palestinian health officials say three Palestinians were killed when a smuggling tunnel near the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt collapsed.

Gaza residents have used the tunnels to smuggle food and other supplies to the Palestinian territory, which remains under an Israeli blockade. Israel says the tunnels are used to smuggle weapons and ammunition to Palestinian militants in Gaza.

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

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