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Last Updated: Wednesday January 25 2006 20:29 GMT

Palestinians' voting polls close

A Palestinian woman casts her vote in the election
Palestinians have now stopped voting in their first elections for a new government in 10 years.

Many people are expected to have voted for a group called Hamas, which has previously supported violence in the neighbouring state of Israel.

Hamas are expected to take seats from the governing party Fatah, but the US and Israel say they won't work with a government that includes Hamas members.

Full results of the voting are not expected for another two weeks.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas encouraged people to vote in the election, and promised people would be protected from violence when they arrived at polling stations

Around 13,000 Palestinian police officers and security guards were brought in to keep voters safe from harm.

The day was relatively peaceful with an atmosphere described as festive. Many waved campaign flags, posters and hooted their vehicles near the polling stations.

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