PA Chairman: Hamas tried to kill me

Abbas calls Hamas "a bunch of murderers and terrorists"; blames Mashal for assassination attempt; Gaza-issued passports canceled.

abbas stand 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
abbas stand 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on Hamas, calling it a bunch of murderers and terrorists. His attack is the strongest since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip last week. Abbas accused Hamas of trying to assassinate him. "I received a video in which Hamas men are seen transferring a 250-kilogram explosive charge," he said in a speech before Fatah leaders in Ramallah. "They are heard saying that the bomb is for Abu Mazen," he said, referring to his nickname.
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  • Rabbi Amar: Morally, Israel should stop bloodshed Abbas said a Hamas official told him Syria-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal was behind the assassination attempt. He did not say when the assassination plot was uncovered. Fatah leaders said earlier this year they had discovered a booby-trapped underground tunnel in Gaza City that was supposed to be detonated as Abbas's convoy passed by. "I tried many times in the past to solve our problems to avoid civil war," Abbas said. "But Hamas did not halt its attempts to stage a coup against the Palestinian Authority until they finally seized control of the entire Gaza Strip, looting and destroying security headquarters." He accused Hamas of perpetrating crimes against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, as well as PA security installations, figures and churches. "There will be no dialogue with these murderers," Abbas said. "There will be no dialogue with the forces of darkness." He said Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was responsible for Hamas's atrocities in the Gaza Strip. Abbas called on Hamas to apologize to the Palestinians for staging a bloody coup against the PA. "The era of militias has ended," he said. "We will impose law and order in all the Palestinian territories. Hamas's Executive Force, which carried out the coup, is illegal and must be dismantled." Abbas also hinted at the possibility of overriding the Palestinian Legislative Council, where Hamas has a majority, with the Palestine National Council, to give formal approval to his new cabinet. The Palestine National Council last convened in 2004, after the death of Yasser Arafat. Abbas said he would seek to reactivate the PLO, of which Hamas is not a member, presumably to bypass Hamas and strip it of legitimacy. Earlier, the new PA emergency government headed by Prime Minister Salaam Fayad announced it would not recognize Hamas's Executive Force. The decision means that the force's 3,000 members will not receive salaries from the PA government. The Fayad government also decided to cancel all Palestinian passports issued by the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip. It called on the international community to deal only with Palestinians holding passports issued by the PA in Ramallah. The decision means that residents of the Gaza Strip will no longer be able to travel abroad. PA Minister of Sports and Youth Ashraf Ajrami said the government decided on a series of measures to consolidate its authority in the West Bank. "We have approved a security plan to restore law and order to the West Bank and confiscate illegal weapons," he said. "We want to strengthen the Palestinian Authority on the one hand and isolate Hamas on the other hand." Ajrami said the government decided to open a new Interior Ministry office in Ramallah. The ministry, headed by Abdel Razak Yahya, is formally in charge of all the Fatah-controlled security forces. He said the ministry would be entrusted with issuing passports and birth certificates and would replace the Interior Ministry that existed in the Gaza Strip. Ajrami said his ministry was planning to open an office in the Gaza Strip to enable Palestinians there to apply for passports and other official documents. He said Fayad's government was holding contacts with Israel to discuss the future of the border crossings into the Gaza Strip, saying he was opposed to giving Hamas any role in controlling them. AP contributed to this report.