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Rights Group: Human Rights Conditions Worsen in West Bank, Gaza

A Palestinian rights group says human rights conditions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have worsened since Hamas militants seized control of Gaza last year.

The Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens' Rights said Tuesday that complaints of human rights abuses in the territories increased in 2007.

The rights group says Hamas and its main rival Fatah have been setting up security regimes in Gaza and the West Bank to tighten their grip over the regions.

The Reuters news agency quotes Fatah and Hamas officials as acknowledging there have been some rights violations in territories under their control. But both sides insisted that overall conditions have improved over the past year.

Hamas seized power in Gaza last June in fighting with the Fatah faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Mr. Abbas fired his Hamas prime minister after losing control of Gaza and set up a Fatah-led government in the West Bank.

The head of the rights group, Mamdouh al-Aker, says he discussed his concerns about rights violations in a meeting with President Abbas on Monday.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.