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Abbas Appoints Inquiry Panel into Security Forces' Failure in Gaza


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has formed a panel of inquiry to look at the failure of security forces to prevent the militant group Hamas from staging a violent revolt in Gaza.

A government statement Saturday says the commission will be headed by Zakariya al-Agha. He is a leader of Mr. Abbas' Fatah party in Gaza.

Also Saturday, Mr. Abbas dismissed a commander in central Gaza Strip, Colonel Suleiman Khader. The government said the commander acted cowardly when he handed over a base to Hamas militants without a fight.

On Friday, Mr. Abbas fired his security chief, Rashid Abu Shbak.

In a separate development, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip a "coup." He reassured Mr. Abbas of Egypt's support.

Mr. Mubarak's remarks come ahead of Monday's summit in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik, where he will host Mr. Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Jordan's King Abdullah.

The summit is expected to discuss support for Mr. Abbas' government.

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