PA employees receive first salaries in over a year

PA employees loyal to Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday stood in long lines outside banks in Hamas-ruled Gaza to collect their first full salaries in 13 months. The salary payments were a boost to Abbas in his power struggle with Hamas, which took control of Gaza by force last month. Abbas has since fired the Hamas-led government and said civil servants who sided with the Islamic militants will not be receiving salaries. During 13 months of Hamas rule, the 165,000 government employees, half of them members of security forces, had only received sporadic, partial payments because of an international aid boycott on the militants. Following the Gaza takeover, Western aid and Israeli tax transfers were renewed to the West Bank-based Palestinian government appointed by Abbas.