European Union observers are preparing to monitor Palestinian parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, despite recent kidnappings of foreigners.
Chief EU observer Veronique De Keyser says her group is making regular security assessments and taking all necessary precautions. She says the EU's commitment must be met, adding that it would a "bad sign" not to send monitors to Gaza, where several foreign aid workers were kidnapped and released unharmed in recent weeks.
Ms. De Keyser spoke to reporters in Jerusalem Monday as more than 30 EU observers headed to Palestinian cities and towns.
Campaigning for the January 25 elections begins Tuesday. But several senior Palestinian leaders are calling for a delay in the vote, citing dire law-and-order conditions and Israel's refusal to permit voting in East Jerusalem.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.