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Hamas Claims Victory In Gaza Elections

28 January 2005 -- The Islamic militant group Hamas is claiming victory in yesterday's municipal elections in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas today claimed victory in seven out of 10 municipal councils. Official results have not yet been released and are due later today.

Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri said his group's claimed victory represents a triumph for the Palestinian people.

"It is a victory for the Palestinian people under occupation. I think this victory for Hamas also has more credible implications," al-Masri said. "These elections show that our people are very interested in reforms and this is the slogan that was raised by Hamas and Hamas is capable of implementing it."

The Gaza elections follow December polls in the West Bank -- where Hamas won several townships -- and a January presidential election in which Mahmoud Abbas was chosen to succeed Yasser Arafat, who died last November.