Source AP ©

Palestinian prime minister calls for unity

As Hamas fighters consolidated their hold in Gaza the Palestinian premier for unity among Palestinians and urged people to remain calm Friday.

Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Hamas was still committed to unity agreements it signed with Fatah, the rival organization whose men Hamas routed in five days of fighting in Gaza this week.

"I still affirm that the road is open and wide to reformulating these relations on a firm nationalistic basis," Haniyeh said, speaking after Muslim Friday prayers in Gaza City.

Haniyeh promised to restore security to the anarchic and poverty-stricken territory, asked Gazans to display "self-restraint" and urged an end to the widespread looting of the houses and property of Fatah officials.

Palestinian unity appeared distant Friday, the day after Hamas routed and humiliated Fatah's security forces and seized total control of Gaza.

Palestinians are now divided into two separate entities: the Gaza Strip is controlled by Hamas, an Islamic group with ties to Iran and Syria, while the West Bank is still dominated by the more moderate Fatah movement, with ties with Israel and the West.

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