Abbas Fires Security Commanders

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's decision to replace two top security commanders has been put on hold temporarily, according to PA sources in Ramallah.

The two commanders, General Intelligence Service chief Tawfik Tirawi and National Security Force head Diab al-Ali, rejected the dismissal, according to Khaled Abu Toameh, a Jerusalem Post Palestinian Affairs correspondent.

Tirawi and Ali have spearheaded efforts by Fatah security forces to prevent Hamas from strengthening its grip on the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

In June 2007, Hamas wrested control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah forces in a bloody military coup.

According to Hamas, Fatah forces have arrested more than 1,500 of its members in the past two years.

But a senior Fatah official said Abbas's decision to replace Tirawi and Ali had more to do with their reaching retirement age than with their dealings with Hamas.

Tirawi, 61, who has held his position since the establishment of the PA in 1994, resigned in 2005 because of the government's refusal to fight lawlessness, but Abbas rejected his resignation.

Abbas recently appointed Ali head over the National Security Force.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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