Hamas, Islamic Jihad To Boycott Local Palestinian Elections

Islamist Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad announced on Monday that they intend to boycott municipal elections scheduled to be held in the West Bank on July 17.The two militant organisations said in separate statements that holding elections at this time would only increase the division among Palestinians, and that what they termed the arrest and harassment of their West Bank members does not make it possible for them to participate in the poll.The Palestinian government of Salam Fayyad decided at the end of April to hold the overdue municipal elections in the West Bank only, after Hamas had decided against allowing elections in the Gaza Strip, which falls under its control.