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Last Updated: Friday, 29 December 2006, 10:21 GMT
Abbas forces get weapons shipment
Fatah gunmen
Seventeen Palestinians have been killed in recent factional fighting
Forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have received an arms shipment from Egypt with Israeli approval.

A senior Israeli military official, Amos Gilad, said the shipment aimed to reinforce the "forces of peace" against the "forces of darkness".

Neither Egyptian nor Palestinian officials have confirmed the shipment.

Israeli officials said they approved the shipment of 2,000 rifles, 20,000 ammunition clips and 2 million bullets.

The shipment comes at a very sensitive time. Over the last month, 17 Palestinians have been killed in violence between the Fatah faction, led by Mr Abbas, and Hamas, which leads the Palestinian government.

The arms shipment came less than a week after the Palestinian president held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Israeli officials have said they support strengthening Mr Abbas against the militant group, Hamas.

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