Gunmen from the Palestinian Fatah movement have announced formation of a two thousand member militia, in an apparent move to counter a new security force unveiled by the rival group Hamas.
Last week, Hamas, which swept to power in parliamentary elections in January, said it was forming a four thousand-strong paramilitary force to maintain order in the Palestinian territories.
The specter of competing Palestinian security forces has raised concern for potential violence between the factions.
Fatah sources Wednesday told a VOA reporter their new force is not designed to compete with Hamas.
Those comments contradicted those of a Fatah spokesman who told Reuters news agency the force is being organized in a challenge to the Hamas militia.
Several dozen people were wounded last month in factional clashes after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Hamas' appointment of a leading Gaza militant to head the Hamas-dominated security unit. Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.