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From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Abbas calls for Palestinian poll
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for presidential and parliamentary elections to be held at the "earliest opportunity".
He was speaking live on Palestinian TV after days of escalating tensions between Hamas and his Fatah movement that have raised fears of civil war.
Hamas, elected in January, immediately rejected the move as a "coup attempt".
Hours after Mr Abbas spoke, armed supporters of Fatah and Hamas exchanged gunfire in the southern Gaza Strip.
Several gunmen are reported to have been injured in the clash in Khan Younis.
At the end of a major policy speech in Ramallah, Mr Abbas said: "I decided ...to call for early presidential and parliament elections."
He blamed Hamas for the crisis triggered by the suspension of Western aid over the group's refusal to recognise Israel and renounce violence.