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Dismissed Hamas PM Calls for Talks with Fatah

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement has rejected calls for talks with the rival Hamas faction.

Ismail Haniyeh, who was prime minister in the Fatah-Hamas unity government, told Arab leaders he wanted to resume dialogue with Fatah to settle differences after Hamas militants took over the Gaza Strip and Mr. Abbas appointed a new government.

A spokesman for Mr. Abbas rejected the offer, which came as the Palestinian president ordered a commission to investigate how Fatah forces lost control of the Gaza Strip earlier this month. A statement says Mr. Abbas also fired a senior Gaza military commander who surrendered a base to Hamas forces rather than fight.

Earlier Saturday, Israeli troops arrested the founder of Hamas's military wing during a pre-dawn raid in the West Bank.

Saleh Aruri, a senior Hamas member, was arrested in a village north of Ramallah three months after he was released from an Israeli prison after serving a 15-year term.

On Monday, Mr. Abbas is scheduled to meet in Egypt with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and leaders from Egypt and Jordan. On Tuesday, the international quartet of Middle East peace negotiators will meet in Jerusalem for its first talks since Hamas took control of Gaza. The quartet includes envoys from the United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Friday he is planning to offer goodwill gestures to Mr. Abbas. They include the release of some of the $600 million in tax revenues Israel withheld when Hamas took power after Palestinian parliamentary elections. Israel says it may also ease travel and trade restrictions in the West Bank.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.