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Armed Palestinian Factions Pledge Calm During Vote


Several armed Palestinian factions have pledged to maintain calm during Wednesday's Palestinian parliamentary elections.

The groups, including Hamas and Fatah-linked al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, say their militants will not be armed during the vote. Despite the pledge, a Fatah election worker was killed in the West Bank town of Nablus overnight.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called Tuesday for all Palestinians to take part in the election.

Opinion polls show almost equal support for the militant group Hamas and Mr. Abbas' Fatah. Both groups have indicated they would be ready to form a coalition after the vote.

A top Hamas leader also suggested his group might agree to future negotiations with Israel through a third party. Hamas has carried out dozens of suicide bombings and remains committed to Israel's destruction.

Israeli and U.S. officials call Hamas a terrorist organization.

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