The Palestinian President has declared Hamas’ paramilitary wing illegal in the Gaza Strip, a move likely to further stoke political tensions. The governing Hamas militant movement created its so-called “Executive Force” after taking power early last year. But the President’s statement says the group will be outlawed until it complies with previous orders to integrate into more well-established security organs.
Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, met for the first time in two months on Friday. They called for an end to internal violence that has escalated since Abbas called for fresh elections to break a political deadlock with Hamas over security forces.
Abbas’s announcement comes two days after members of the Hamas force attacked the home of a senior security commander in Gaza, killing him and several of his bodyguards. There was a lull in the bloody violence on Saturday, however, as most of Gaza observed a general strike and a day of mourning.