Sunday, November 26, 2006

13,000 members of PA security force deploy in Gaza to prevent Qassam fire

Palestinian security forces searching a car after they were deployed near the Gaza-Israel border Sunday in a bid to halt rocket fire. (Reuters)

"Palestinian Authority security forces began deploying along the Gaza Strip's border with Israel on Sunday, in order to prevent Palestinian militants from firing Qassam rockets at Israel in violation of a newly implemented cease-fire.

A short time earlier, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas ordered the heads of Palestinian security forces to ensure that Gaza militants respect the truce, Palestinian officials said.

Three Qassam rockets hit Israel in the first few hours after a truce between Israel and Palestinian militant factions in the Gaza Strip went into effect, causing no damage or injuries. Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

It was not immediately clear whether there was an explicit order by Abbas to use force to stop rocket fire by militants.

"President Abbas has given his instructions to security chiefs to implement the understanding of calm," one of the officials said.

Palestinian lawmaker Saeb Erekat, an Abbas confidant, condemned the new rocket attacks.

"This is a violation and [Abbas] calls it a violation, and urges all to abide by the agreement that should be honored for the interest of the Palestinian people," he said.

Despite the claims of responsibility, a spokesman for the Hamas-led Palestinian government, Ghazi Hamad, said all the armed groups had committed to the agreement, and any violations were rogue acts.

"There is a 100 percent effort to make this work, but there is no guarantee of 100 percent results," Hamad said.

Government sources in Jerusalem said Saturday that if the cease-fire held, it would bring forward a meeting between Olmert and Abbas. "

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