Exit polls show the militant Islamist Hamas movement making a strong showing in Palestinian parliamentary elections on Wednesday.
Exit surveys from three Palestinian institutions put the ruling Fatah party ahead, but only by margins of three to seven percentage points. The evidence of a strong showing by Hamas, which has vowed to destroy Israel, raises the prospect that it could win government posts for the first time.
Hamas has claimed responsibility for scores of suicide attacks on Israel in recent years, prompting both Israel and the United States to designate the group a terrorist organization.
Israel has not publicly said what it will do if Hamas gains seats in a reconfigured Palestinian Authority. Election officials say 77 percent of the more than one million eligible voters cast ballots for the 132-seat Palestinian Legislative Council.