Newly-appointed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to integrate a high-profile militant group into his security services.
The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which is the armed wing of Abbas’s Fatah movement, has been behind many suicide bombings and assaults on Israeli targets.
Abbas has called on his security services to prevent any more militant attacks.
His decision to pull the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades into an official role is being seen as part of his drive to co-opt, rather than confront, radical groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
It is not a policy approved of by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
He has ordered the army to take any action necessary to prevent rocket, mortar and gun attacks on Israeli settlements and targets, refusing to grant Abbas a ‘period of grace’.