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New Palestinian Political Body Aims to Rival Abbas, Hamas

FILE - Palestinian security forces are seen in front of the Palestinian Legislative Council building in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Dec. 26, 2018.

Five Palestinian factions are forming a new political body in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in an attempt to break the political duopoly of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement and the Islamic movement Hamas.

The factions announced the formation of “The Democratic Caucus” at a news conference on Thursday, with the stated aim of challenging the two main Palestinian political parties.

Leaders said they would work toward holding presidential and parliamentary elections, and protecting human rights in the Palestinian territories.

Palestinian elections were last held in 2006 and have been indefinitely postponed due to political discord between Fatah and Hamas.

Hamas wrested control of the Gaza Strip from Abbas's government in a 2007 armed coup. Efforts to reconcile the two parties have yet to yield results.