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A senior Hamas official in Lebanon on Wednesday accused Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas of launching a full-out war against his Hamas in the West Bank.
Osama Hamdan, who is Hamas's representative in Lebanon, told reporters that Abbas is trying to transform his Fatah-run West Bank into a "lawless area controlled by the heads of security agencies."
Hamdan added that such measures by the Fatah leader would not "make Hamas abandon its method of resistance and the rights of our people."
Hamas came to power in the West Bank and Gaza in March 2006, but after months of bloody Palestinian infighting which culminated with Hamas's overrunning Gaza by force in June, Abbas set up his West Bank government and fired Hamas officials.
Since then, Israel and the international community have embraced Abbas in an attempt to prevent further gains by the Islamic militants. Hamas has remained largely isolated in Gaza.
Hamas officials have been complaining for weeks about crackdowns against them in the West Bank by Abbas's Fatah group.
On Wednesday, Hamas officials in the Palestinian territories said that nine members including a mosque preacher were detained in the West Bank.
"What is happening in the West Bank is a full-out war against Hamas," Hamdan said. "We would like to remind those who imagine otherwise, that Hamas faced a wild campaign by the enemy (Israel) in the past years and offered hundreds of martyrs and thousands of detainees and the people did not abandon it."
Speaking about a proposal by Abbas to dispatch an international peacekeeping force to Gaza, Hamdan said the PA chairman is "calling for bringing a new occupation under the slogan of international forces."