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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 January 2006, 16:46 GMT
In pictures: Palestinian poll shock

Hamas supporter on moped drives past Fatah supporters outside polling station

The Islamic resistance movement Hamas appears to have crowned its first parliamentary election campaign with a shock defeat over mainstream rivals Fatah.

Hamas leader Ismail Hanieh salutes supporters at the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City

Senior Hamas official Ismail Haniya said all parties had to respect the will of the Palestinian people which has been expressed at the polls.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told journalists that his party, Fatah, would sit in opposition and would not form part of any unity government.

Hamas supporters celebrate at a Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza Strip

Supporters of the radical Islamist movement have taken to the streets to celebrate the group's apparent victory.

Hamas supporters watch a computer screen at the party's office in the West Bank city of Jenin

Hamas supporters are also keeping track of the results via mobile phones and computers.

Voting paper showing votes for Hamas candidates and the Hamas list

Exit polls after the ballot centres closed had suggested a lead for Fatah, but that began to change as votes were counted.

Hamas supporters wait outside polling station

Rival supporters gathered outside polling stations, but as the exit polls came out the mood among Hamas members was downbeat.

Vote tally

But in school classrooms around the West Bank and Gaza, votes were being accumulated by the Hamas list.

Fatah supporters praying and celebrating the exit polls

Fatah supporters had celebrated the exit polls in the mistaken belief that they had held off the Islamist challenge.

Hamas supporters in Ramallah

Hamas supporters celebrated in the streets of Ramallah - the Palestinian seat of government.

Fatah supporters at broken window in Ramallah

Fatah and Hamas supporters exchanged stones in the town after a bid by Hamas to take over the parliament.


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