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22 Jun, 2007 03:47

Palestinian crisis deepens

Tensions continue between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Hamas faction that took control of Gaza last week.

Hamas militiamen have marched through the Preventive Security Compound in Gaza in a move symbolic of its takeover of the region.

A meeting between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is due to take place this weekend looking for ways of resuming the Middle East peace process.

Meanwhile, the exodus out of Gaza has become a trickle. There are about 50 Russians still in the region with which there is no contact but a constant contact with Russian representatives in Ramallah who said they had not received any further requests for evacuation from Russian citizens who are still in Gaza.

Yesterday about 70 Russian citizens made it safely on a Russian ministry of Emergencies plane that took off from Jordan and landed in Moscow. Now the original list containing 120 names of Russian citizens who wanted to leave Gaza shortened by more than a half.

Russian Foreign ministry says it is working closely with Israeli authorities to secure official status of Russian citizens in Gaza and other Palestinian territories.