Gunmen and Palestinian Authority police exchanged fire in a densely populated refugee camp on Monday, injuring one person and renewing tensions between armed factions and the PA government, which has vowed to disarm gunmen in hopes of restarting Mideast peace negotiations.
The gunbattle came as PA President Mahmoud Abbas met with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the West Bank town of Ramallah to discuss an upcoming Mideast conference. After the meeting, Abbas said his government was trying to disarm factions, collect illegal weapons and reform security forces - Palestinian obligations under the newly revived US-supported road map for peace.
Monday's firefight in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus raised questions about Abbas' control in the West Bank, after the rival group Hamas seized control of Gaza in mid-June. Israel has expressed doubts about Abbas' ability to implement a future peace deal.