Municipal elections in West Bank as two Palestinians shot dead in Gaza Strip
Palestinians flocked to polling stations in 26 West Bank towns on Thursday to cast their ballots in the first local and municipal elections in decades. These elections are the preamble to broader local elections that will take place in the larger cities and municipal authorities in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, who cast his ballot in the East Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis, hailed the vote as "the first step toward the establishment of the Palestinians state."
The last municipal elections in the West Bank took place in 1976 when pro-PLO supporters controlled most town councils, prompting Israel to cancel all elections afterward and adopt a policy based on appointment of mayors and local officials.
Meanwhile, two Palestinians were killed in exchanges of fire with Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip Thursday, sources said. Also in the Strip, Palestinian fighters fired a barrage of mortar shells at the Netzer Hazani settlement early Thursday, wounding one settler, Israeli reports said.
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