Abbas seeks 'unprecedented' steps to end Palestinian split

A member of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas.  (Mohammed  Abed, AFP)
A member of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. (Mohammed Abed, AFP)

Ramallah - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he will take "unprecedented steps" to end the political division between his West Bank-based autonomy government and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

The Islamic militant group Hamas seized Gaza from Abbas in 2007. The rivals failed to reconcile. A unity government set up by Abbas in 2014 never got off the ground in Gaza.

Abbas said in comments published by the official news agency WAFA late on Wednesday that "we are going to take unprecedented steps in coming days to end the division".

He did not explain. Measures will likely include financial pressure on Hamas.

In a recent blow to Gaza's fragile economy, Abbas slashed by one-third the salaries of 60 000 ex-civil servants and troops who have stayed home since the Hamas takeover, but continue to get paid.

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