Abbas appoints panel to probe into Hamas takeover

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday appointed a panel of inquiry into the failure of his security forces to halt Hamas's violent takeover of Gaza, Abbas's office said. The Gaza committee will be headed Zakariya al-Agha, a Fatah leader in Gaza, the announcement said. The Gaza commission will coordinate with a similar panel set up last week in the West Bank. Abbas also dismissed the former commander of the central Gaza Strip, Col. Suleiman Khader, who had handed the headquarters of the Abbas-allied forces there to Hamas without a fight. The statement said Khader had acted in a cowardly manner. On Friday, Abbas's top security commander, Rashid Abu Shbak, resigned from his post.