Palestinian officials say President Mahmoud Abbas is heading to the Gaza Strip Saturday - his first trip to the region since deadly clashes between Fatah party supporters and the rival Hamas faction.

Officials have not explained the purpose of his visit.

Mr. Abbas of Fatah and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas are expected to hold mediation talks in Jordan with King Abdullah. No date has been given for those talks.

Tensions between Fatah and Hamas have been high for months. Last month, forces from each side fought open street battles in Gaza and the West Bank. At least 17 people died in that fighting.

A ceasefire agreed to last week has largely ended the violence, but has done little to resolve the standoff.

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