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Palestinian President Vetoes Controversial Security Appointment


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has vetoed a controversial Hamas plan to create a new security branch led by a wanted militant.

In a presidential decree Friday, Mr. Abbas ordered all security leaders, officers and members of the security services to disregard the Hamas decision.

The move comes one day after the new Hamas-led government appointed Jamal Abu Samhadana to head a new security branch made up of armed anti-Israeli factions. He is a senior leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, and is wanted by Israel for dozens of attacks. Israeli officials say he was involved in a deadly 2003 roadside bombing on a U.S. diplomatic convoy in Gaza.

Hamas officials said the decision would stand, but also said representatives of the militant group would meet with Mr. Abbas Saturday to try to defuse the crisis.

Security has been a contentious issue since the radical Islamist group's landslide electoral win against Mr. Abbas and his Fatah party.

Since taking office last month, Hamas has rejected all calls to renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist. The United States and European Union have withheld millions of dollars in direct aid to the Palestinian Authority. Both consider Hamas a terrorist organization

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