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Hamas to take part in Palestinian election


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Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has been promoting stability in the West Bank and Gaza.
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Mahmoud Abbas and Ariel Sharon agree to a cease-fire.

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, says it will take part in the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections to be held in July.

The decision was announced Saturday by a Hamas leader, Mohammad Ghazel at a press conference in Nablus, in the West Bank.

It marks the group's renewed willingness to participate with the Palestinian Authority, which has had closer working relations with Israel since the death of longtime Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Hamas has claimed responsibility for many terror attacks over the years, targeting innocent Israelis. It is regarded as a terrorist group by Israel and the United States but as a legitimate resistance group by many Palestinians.

The announcement comes after the group took part recently in local and municipal elections in the territories, with successful results.

Hamas' stance reflects efforts by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to promote peace and stability in the West Bank and Gaza and influence militant groups to promote a cease-fire.

Last year at this time, Israel killed two top Hamas leaders.

A missile strike killed Sheikh Yassin in March 2004. Not long after that, Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi -- his successor in Gaza -- was killed..

Thousands of Hamas supporters in Gaza City rallied on Saturday to commemorate Sheikh Yassin's death.

Also, unemployed Palestinians stormed the parliament building in Gaza City protesting their living conditions.

They demanded financial support and jobs. Some stormed the gates and others broke windows. Police dispersed the crowd by shooting in the air.


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