PA gov't unintentionally pays Hamas men's salaries

The government of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas inadvertently paid one month's salary to 3,500 members of the Hamas militia he outlawed, Finance Ministry officials said Wednesday. The ministry ordered banks on Wednesday to cancel the deposits - totaling $2.3 million - made the day before, officials said in telephone interviews from the West Bank town of Ramallah. But by then, some of the militiamen had withdrawn the money, said a spokesman for the Hamas-run Interior Ministry in Gaza, Ahab Ghussen. One of the Finance Ministry officials said a computer error was responsible for the unintended payments. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.