Al-Qaida operatives are cooperating with Hamas in the Palestinian territories, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday. In an interview published in the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, Abbas blamed Hamas for letting al-Qaida into the Gaza Strip, and said he believed the two organizations were working together. "I believe al-Qaida is present in the Palestinian territories and especially in the Gaza Strip. I think al-Qaida's presence was achieved with the help of Hamas, particularly in Gaza," Abbas said. Abbas's statements lent support to those made by OC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin on Tuesday. Yadlin told members of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that trained terrorists and al-Qaida operatives had entered the Gaza Strip through the recently breached border with Egypt. Abbas repeated demands that Hamas recognize and abide by the decisions of the Palestine Liberation Organization, including the Arab peace initiative. Only then, he said, would new elections be possible. Speaking of peace negotiations with Israel, Abbas said he could not report any significant progress. A Palestinian state, he said, could be established only when the six core issues of the conflict were resolved: settlements, Jerusalem, borders, refugees, water and security. "We cannot ignore any of these points," he stated.