Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has signed a decree taking control over land and assets from Israelis evacuating the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank.

Speaking in Gaza Saturday, Mr. Abbas promised to build new housing on the land, and he said he had named a panel to hear claims from Palestinians who owned property before Israelis seized it.

Mr. Abbas also announced parliamentary elections will take place January 25, following a series of delays.

The elections are expected to include candidates from the militant Islamic group Hamas, which has vowed to continue fighting Israelis to gain control over occupied territories.

By Friday, Israeli troops said they had evacuated most of the settlements to be emptied in Gaza and the West Bank. Operations are to continue Sunday, following a pause today for the Jewish Sabbath.

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