Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Fatah asks Israel to allow munitions into Gaza Strip

"Senior Fatah officials in the Gaza Strip have asked Israel to allow them
to receive large shipments of arms and ammunition from Arab countries,
including Egypt.

The group says it needs the weapons to counter attacks by Hamas, which has an overwhelming advantage in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has not officially responded to the request, which includes dozens of armored cars, hundreds of armor-piercing RPG rockets, thousands of hand grenades and millions of rounds of ammunition for small caliber weapons.

In addition, Fatah is organizing yet another paramilitary force in the Gaza Strip, sources say.....

The vehicles in question are currently in Egypt.

Last year, Israel allowed Fatah to bring weapons into Gaza on a number of occasions. Those shipments, which included 2,500 rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition, came from Jordan and Egypt, and were transferred to the Gaza Strip in coordination with Israel......

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was quoted as saying during a closed meeting on Wednesday that he is "very frustrated by the fact that Israel is not permitting the transfer of arms and ammunition for his men." "The legal organs of the Palestinian Authority have become weaker than the militias due to the lack of equipment," Abbas added......

Meanwhile, Mohammed Dahlan, Fatah's leading figure in the Gaza Strip, is organizing another paramilitary unit. Several months ago, Dahlan established another force, the Presidential Guard, which comprises several thousand fighters trained with American assistance in Arab countries.

The latest group, Fatah's Executive Force, is supposed to counter its synonymous rival in Hamas. It currently includes about 1,000 fighters......"

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