BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinian government in the West Bank has announced that upcoming municipal elections will not take place in the Gaza Strip, territory ruled by the Islamic militant group Hamas.
Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah says Hamas has "refused to hold elections" in Gaza on May 13. The vote will only be held in the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement run autonomous enclaves.
Palestinians have been split since Hamas seized Gaza in 2007 from Abbas' forces in bloody street battles. Repeated reconciliation attempts have failed.
The elections were originally set for last October, but they were postponed after Hamas courts dropped most of Abbas' electoral lists.
Hamas' spokesman Fawzi Barhoum condemned Tuesday's announcement from the West bank, saying it "deepens the division."