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P.A. won’t count out force in Gaza

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A top Palestinian Authority security official would not count out using military force to retake the Gaza Strip.

Gen. Diyab al-Ali, the Palestinian Authority security chief, downplayed such a scenario in an interview with A-Sharq al- Awsat, an international Arabic-language daily, but cautioned: “What everyone should know is that we have not abandoned this option and will implement it if conditions allow.”

Hamas, a terrorist movement, ousted forces loyal to the relatively moderate Palestinian Authority from Gaza in the summer of 2007. Since then, P.A. forces in the West Bank have been undergoing U.S.-funded re-training and re-equipping by Jordanian, Egyptian and European experts. Al-Ali said that should the Palestinian Authority opt to oust Hamas, it would not look to Israel for assistance.

Hamas officials slammed al-Ali’s comments. “These are statements that are aimed at damaging Palestinian unity and causing the failure of efforts by Egypt and Arab states to bring about national reconciliation,” the Israeli daily Ha’aretz quoted Hamas spokesman Taher Nunu as saying.

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