Hamas, Fatah agree on Shabir as new PA premier

Senior Hamas officials confirmed Monday that it had agreed with Fatah to name Mohammed Shabir to head the next Palestinian Authority unity government. Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy to the Damascus-based Hamas political bureau leader Khaled Mashaal, told The Associated Press in the Syrian capital that the two major factions have agreed on the nomination of Shabir. Shabir, 60, headed Gaza's Islamic University until 2005. The US-educated Shabir is considered to be close to Hamas but not an active supporter. A senior official of another Palestinian faction other than Hamas and Fatah who is based in Damascus also confirmed the nomination. The official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the two rival factions are now discussing the makeup of the national unity government.