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Palestinian Gunmen Briefly Seize Bethlehem City Hall

A group of Palestinian gunmen have briefly seized Bethelehem city hall in the West Bank, apparently demanding financial assistance from the Palestinian Authority.

About 20 gunmen appeared on the roof of the city hall Tuesday, ordered all workers out and threatened to open fire.

Palestinian police sealed off the streets leading to the building on Manger Square, near the Church of the Nativity.

Officials say the gunmen were linked to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades militant faction of the ruling Fatah movement of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. They were demanding money for about 300 members.

The gunmen left the building after about an hour, following talks with the governor of Bethlehem. It was not immediately clear how the standoff was resolved.

The incident is another sign of growing turmoil within the Palestinian territories ahead of a January parliamentary election.

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