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Rival Palestinian Forces Parade in Gaza as Tensions Rise

Palestinian security forces from rival Fatah and Hamas factions paraded through the streets of Gaza Thursday, raising fears of a clash between the groups.

Tensions rose Wednesday, when Hamas deployed its own 3,000-strong police force in the Gaza Strip, defying Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who had vetoed the force made up of mostly militants.

In response, Mr. Abbas ordered Palestinian police under his control to also deploy. Last month, Mr. Abbas appointed a key ally as overall commander of the Palestinian security forces.

In the occupied West Bank, gunmen loyal to Mr. Abbas forced the Palestinian Authority deputy prime minister - a senior Hamas official - to cut short a meeting in the town of Tulkarem.

The developments follow this week's killing of two Hamas activists in separate attacks in the Gaza Strip.

The two factions have been locked in a struggle over the control of Palestinian security forces since Hamas formed the Palestinian government after winning legislative elections in January.

Mr. Abbas, who is separately elected president, is also the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

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