Gunmen stormed offices of the Central Elections Commission (CEC) in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday shortly after the registration reopened for the ruling Fatah movement to submit a unified list of candidates for the Jan. 25 legislative elections.
Witnesses said that members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah's armed wing, ordered the employees at the CEC offices in southern Gaza Strip towns of Rafah and Khan Younis as well as central Gaza Strip town of Deer al-Balah to leave in an attempt to close down these offices.
Palestinian police traded fire with members of the militant group who tried to take over a CEC office in Gaza City. No casualties were immediately reported.
These gunmen demanded that representatives of the group be included in the Fatah list.
The Palestinian court decided on Monday to reopen registration on Wednesday for six hours starting from 8 a.m.
The move will enable Fatah, which had submitted two rival lists of candidates for the elections at the end of the registration on Dec. 14, to present a merged slate.
A separate list headed by imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and made up of mostly young Fatah leaders was put forward due to disagreement over the official Fatah list.