Thousands of Palestinian police have begun deploying in the southern Gaza Strip in an effort to prevent militant rocket and mortar attacks on Israel.
Palestinian authorities say security forces Friday headed for the volatile refugee camps of Khan Younis and Rafah. Shortly afterwards, Israel's army chief ordered his troops to halt operations in all areas of the Gaza Strip where Palestinian police are deployed. Speaking in Davos, Switzerland, Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres expressed confidence about new prospects for peace in the Middle East. Meanwhile, the Islamic militant group Hamas has won an overwhelming victory in local council elections in the Gaza Strip. Final results Friday show Hamas winning control of seven of Gaza's 10 local councils. The U.S. State Department reacted by saying it still considers Hamas a terrorist organization.