Updated: 35 minutes ago
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday declared a Hamas security force in Gaza illegal after a surge in internal violence, a move that quickly stoked political tensions.
Throwing down the gauntlet to Abbas, the governing Hamas militant movement’s “Executive Force” said it would double its size to 12,000 personnel.
The president's announcement came two days after Col. Mohammed Ghareeb of the Preventive Security Service, a Fatah member, and six of his men, were killed in a siege of his home in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya. Hamas gunmen blamed the shooting on Ghareeb’s bodyguards.