Aksa Brigades tell Abbas to fire Fayad

Group distributes leaflets in Ramallah calling for new gov't that won't abandon "armed struggle."

shehadeh funeral 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
shehadeh funeral 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday to fire Prime Minister Salaam Fayad and open a "new page" with Hamas. "We renew our call to President Abbas to fire Salaam Fayad and form a new government that would not abandon the armed struggle," the group said in a leaflet distributed in Ramallah. It also called on Abbas to stop all contacts with Israel, including security coordination. Earlier, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades announced that its members would resume attacks on Israel in response to the undercover IDF killing of four Palestinians in Bethlehem on Wednesday night. Two of targets - Muhammad Shehadeh and Ahmed Balboul - were leaders of Islamic Jihad and the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the Bethlehem area. On Thursday, thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral of the four. Many of the mourners raised Hizbullah flags and chanted slogans in which they called for increased attacks on Israel. Kamel Hmaid, the Fatah representative in Bethlehem, called for a crackdown on Palestinian "collaborators" who allegedly helped Israel track down the four gunmen. A few months ago, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades called for the assassination of Fayad, accusing him of serving the interests of the US and Israel. Several Fatah officials have issued an ultimatum to Abbas to fire Fayad or face a public revolt against his leadership. The officials have wanted Abbas to fire Fayad and his government of technocrats and establish a Fatah government. They accuse Fayad of refusing to give their representatives enough jobs and salaries in the PA government. They are also angry with Fayad because of his decision to stop paying salaries to thousands of Fatah members as part of his policy to implement economic reforms. Some of them are unhappy with him because of the security coordination between PA security forces and Israel. Other Fatah officials have been talking about a behind-the-scenes power struggle that has been raging for some time between Fayad and Abbas. The conflict erupted following media reports that suggested that the US was planning to replace Abbas with Fayad.