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Middle East
Abbas in bid to deploy Fatah force
Palestinian president seeks Israel's permission to bring Badr Brigade to West Bank.
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2007 19:40 GMT
Olmert, left, met Abbas during a summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh [Reuters] 

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has asked Israel's permission to bring Fatah forces based in Jordan to the West Bank in a bid to shore up his control, Israeli officials said.

A senior Israeli official said on Tuesday that Abbas's proposal "is being evaluated and a decision will be made soon".

Abbas met Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, on Monday at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, seeking support for the emergency government he appointed following his dismissal of the Hamas-led unity cabinet.

Israel wants Abbas to do more to rein in on Hamas fighters and has been considering providing his forces with additional arms and ammunition.

   

Before Hamas took full control of the Gaza Strip almost two weeks ago, Abbas had intended to send the Badr Brigade there in an effort to stop armed groups from firing makeshift rockets into Israel.

 

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The proposed deployment was never initiated. 

 

Some accounts have suggested that the Badr Brigade has less than 1,000 fighters with various levels of training but analysts say Badr is Fatah's best-trained and best-equipped fighting force, aside from Abbas's presidential guard.

   

Western officials have visited the main Badr training base in Jordan but a formal evaluation of their strength has never been made.

    

Badr is considered to be more loyal to Fatah than other forces. It also has strong ties to the Jordanian king. It would reinforce his presidential guard and other Fatah-dominated security services.

   

US Lieutenant-General Keith Dayton, the US security coordinator between Israel and the Palestinians, has yet to publicly take a position on the potential deployment.

       

The United States has so far not provided Badr troops with training or equipment, but has assisted with coordinating preparations for their deployment, sources said.

Source:
Agencies
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