A Palestinian court on Tuesday cancelled the voting results in 51 of the 141 polling stations in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, a move that could increase tension between Hamas and the ruling Fatah movement. 

The court decision came after finding irregularities in voter registration lists and ballot boxes, said Osama Abu Safiyah of the Supreme Committee for Local Election in Gaza.

Safiyah said nearly 40 percent of Rafah’s 74,605 registered voters would be eligible to take part in new balloting.

Thousands of supporters of Fatah took to the streets for late-night celebrations of the court ruling.

Hamas, which won 12 of the 15 Rafah council seats in the May 5 ballot, declared Tuesday it would respect the court’s decision.

Prior to the court ruling, Hamas accused Fatah leaders and the Palestinian Authority of pressuring the court to void the results.

‘The attempt to hurt Hamas, distort its image and … accuse it of corruption is a very grave issue,’ Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, told a news conference.

Lawyer Hamada Mkhaimar, who represented Fatah at the hearings, said the court received evidences that some votes were cast in the names of people who were abroad, dead or in jail.