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Election losers stage Palestinian parliament walkout

Sources: Israeli airstrike in Gaza kills 4, including 2 militants




RAMALLAH, West Bank (CNN) -- The Palestinian parliament's first session led by militant group Hamas dissolved into a shouting match Monday as members of the opposition Fatah Party walked out in protest.

The walkout occurred when Hamas took quick steps to overturn decisions made during the final session of the Fatah-controlled parliament -- including handing additional powers to Fatah's Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president who is elected directly.

Hamas won January's parliamentary elections, snatching power from Fatah after decades of Palestinian rule.

"This is a protest about this meeting," Fatah member Nabil Sha'ath said, vowing to negotiate with Hamas to form "a new system that will really make it worthwhile for us to be part of that parliament and not overruled on order by the numerical majority."

Hamas spokesman Farhat Assad said Fatah members would come back to parliament after they "return to the basic law and accept all the substance of the basic law."

Outside the parliament building in Ramallah, Fatah gunmen fired weapons into the air.

Monday's parliamentary dispute cast doubt on whether Hamas and Fatah can work together to create a coalition government.

Hamas' victory marked the first opportunity for the militant group -- which the United States, Israel and the European Union consider to be a terrorist organization -- to run the government. (What is Hamas?)

Fatah-led decisions overturned

The rules overturned Monday included one empowering Abbas to appoint a nine-judge constitutional court that would resolve disputes between him and parliament. The court also had the power to veto legislation that it found to be against the Palestinians' basic law.

Hamas won control of parliament by capitalizing on widespread dissatisfaction with what was seen as corruption within the Palestinian Authority and Fatah and a perceived inability by the authority to manage the affairs of Palestinians.

Fatah was formed in 1965 by Yasser Arafat, who died in November 2004 having dominated Palestinian politics for decades as head of the mainstream Palestinian nationalist movement.

Hamas' official charter calls for Israel's destruction, and the United States and others have urged the group to moderate its stance.

Hamas leaders met Sunday in Moscow with Russia's foreign minister, prompting Israeli criticism. (Full story)

Boy among four killed in Israeli strike

With discord dominating the Palestinian parliament, an Israeli airstrike Monday killed two militants and two bystanders in Gaza City, including a boy, 8, Palestinian medical sources said.

Two of the dead were members of militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Palestinian medical sources said. Islamic Jihad sources confirmed the deaths of two members in the attack.

The two others killed were bystanders, including the 8-year-old boy, medical sources said.

The Israeli military confirmed that it targeted the car.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad is dedicated to the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel. Israel and the United States considers it to be a terrorist organization, and the group has carried out military operations against Israeli soldiers and civilians.

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