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Abbas assumes control of Palestinian borders

By Super
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Ramallah (West Bank), Apr 6: President Mahmoud Abbas, who is struggling to quell international concern about a new Palestinian government under Hamas, today assumed security control over Palestinian border crossings.

''Administration of the crossing points and borders will fall directly under the jurisdiction of the president,'' said a statement from Abbas's office. ''It is an independent administration in terms of finance, commerce and in security.'' Officials close to Abbas said the European Union, which monitors the key Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt as part of a US-brokered deal, had threatened to withdraw its personnel after Hamas swept January 25 legislative elections.

The Islamic militant group is formally sworn to the Jewish state's destruction and has helped spearhead a 5-year-old uprising. It has resisted calls from Abbas and foreign peacemakers to moderate its stance.

Citing security concerns, Israel has also repeatedly closed the Karni commercial crossing from Gaza into its territory.

REUTERS

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