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Abbas to Swear In Emergency Palestinian Government

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was expected to swear in a new prime minister and emergency cabinet Saturday, replacing the Hamas-led government he fired after the group's bloody takeover of the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Abbas of the Fatah faction, who is in the West Bank, appointed former Finance Minister Salam Fayyad as the new prime minister Friday, after dismissing Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas.

Mr. Haniyeh has ignored his dismissal. He called for calm and said his government will continue to exercise its duties.

Israeli soldiers fired warning shots into the air today at the Erez border crossing to control crowds attempting to leave Gaza for Israel.

Earlier in the day Fatah gunmen stormed Hamas-controlled West Bank institutions, including the parliament building in Ramallah. In Gaza, Hamas gunmen ransacked the home of the late Fatah founder and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and made off with some of his possessions.

Also Saturday, an American envoy told Mr. Abbas that the United States will lift a ban on emergency aid if the new Abbas government includes no ministers from Hamas.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who lives in Syria, said his group still recognizes Mr. Abbas as Palestinian president and is ready to work with him "in the national interest." But Mr. Abbas's spokesman says the president will not engage in talks with Hamas.

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