The Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry on Saturday said it would double the size of the Hamas militia in the Gaza Strip, defying calls by President Mahmoud Abbas that the force is illegal.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khaled Abu Hilal said the unit would be doubled to 12,000 members. He said Interior Minister Said Siyam made the decision "in view of the ongoing security deterioration."
Earlier Saturday, Abbas said the unit is illegal. His announcement came days after members of the force stormed the home of a Fatah security official, killing the man and seven bodyguards.
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