Palestinian gov't employees set to strike

In a new challenge to the Hamas-led government, a union of Palestinian government employees said Friday it would launch an open-ended strike next week to protest non-payment of salaries. It was not immediately clear how many of the 165,000 government employees the union represents. However, it appears to have ties to Hamas' political rival, the Fatah Party of Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. In a statement issued on Fatah-linked web sites, the Syndicate of Employees of the Public Sector said it would hold a two-hour warning strike Saturday, to be followed by an open-ended walkout starting Wednesday.