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Lawmaker blocks Abbas grant

A U.S. lawmaker is holding up a White House grant for Palestinian Authority security forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), who sits on the House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee, said this week that she had placed a hold on the $86 million grant pending the clarification of its purposes. President Bush has said the funds would go toward training and equipping P.A. President Abbas’ National Security Forces. Until recently those forces have been at loggerheads with militias from the terrorist group Hamas, which governs the Palestinian Authority. But Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah signed a coalition agreement last week, suspending their clashes and casting doubt on the extent to which the Bush administration and Israel can deal with the new government.