Rival commanders meet to settle militia dispute

Rival security commanders met Saturday to try to settle a dispute over an armed 3,000-strong force deployed earlier in the week by the Hamas government, participants said. Hamas agreed to keep its gunmen away from the Palestinian security headquarters to avoid friction with the forces loyal to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, a security official said on condition of anonymity. Hamas officials were not immediately available for comment. The meeting was attended by Interior Minister Said Siyam of Hamas and Rashid Abu Shbak, the Gaza commander of the security forces loyal to Abbas. Abu Shbak renewed an offer by Abbas to integrate the Hamas gunmen into the security forces and bring them under his command. Participants did not say how Hamas responded to that offer.