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Hamas rallies boost Palestinian unity

First come the horses, then amongst a swirl of green flags, one of the Hamas leaders - Aziz Dewik. It is a day of celebration for the Islamist militant group. But this is not their stronghold Gaza, it is the West Bank city of Hebron, home to Hamas's political rivals Fatah. Hamas won Gazan parliamentary elections in 2007, ending Fatah's dominance. The open rift split the Palestinian national movement politically and geographically, between Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza. But Friday's gatherings in Hebron and Ramallah are a show of unity. The two groups are now boosting ties, hot on the heels of an eight-day war with Israel last month and the United Nations recognition of a de facto Palestinian state.

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