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Fatah Members Launch Gaza Protests

Thousands of members of the ruling Fatah Party, which badly lost Palestinian parliament elections to Hamas this week, burned cars and shot in the air in demonstrations across the Gaza Strip, demanding the resignation of corrupt officials and insisting that Fatah form no coalition with Hamas.

About 1,000 angry party activists, including 100 gunmen, drove by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' resident in Gaza, calling from loudspeakers for all corrupt leaders to step down and urging Abbas not to form a coalition with Hamas. Abbas was in the West Bank town of Ramallah at the time.

"We don't want to join the Hamas government. We don't want corrupt leadership. We want reform and we want to fire all the corrupt," one group of thousands of people gathered outside a Palestinian government building in Gaza City said. Several gunmen shot in the air.

But a senior Hamas leader said Friday he has asked Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to meet within two days to discuss the formation of the next government.

"We asked him to meet within the coming two days to consult with Hamas, the largest party in the Palestinian legislature, about the shape of the political partnership for the next era and about all the Palestinian people's issues and topics," Ismail Haniyeh, told worshippers at a mosque in a Gaza refugee camp.

Officials leading the rally demanded the resignation of Fatah's top leaders but they did not mention Abbas by name.

"This demonstration is a natural reaction of Fatah supporters and members. We have one demand that the (Fatah) central committee and the Revolutionary Council should resign immediately," said Samir Mashrawi, a local Fatah leader who was defeated in the election.

"We are against joining any coalition with Hamas because this means a disaster for Fatah and the Palestinian people," he said, "Instead, we want to be a strong opposition and we want to fight and end the corruption of some of Fatah's historical leaders."

Israel has said it will not negotiate with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas.

"The state of Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian administration if even part of it is an armed terrorist organization calling for the destruction of the state of Israel," acting prime minister Ehud Olmert said in a statement.

But according to a poll, nearly half of Israelis believe Israel should talk to a government led by Hamas. CBS News correspondent Robert Berger reports 48 percent support talks with Hamas while 43 percent are opposed.