Abbas orders security shake-up

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas has ordered all Palestinian security services to be placed under the authority of the National Security Forces, the Interior Ministry, and the General Intelligence Agency.

    The move is seen as a step to meet Israeli and US demands

    The order expands the responsibilities of Interior Minister Nasir Yusuf, who was named by Abbas as his security chief earlier this year.

    Yusuf continues to oversee his ministry as well as the National Security Forces, which includes elite commando units and military intelligence.

    It was not immediately known who would be in charge of the general intelligence section.

    Abbas' decision on Thursday is seen as a step towards meeting a key Israeli and US demand for reform.

    The US and Israel have long demanded the unification of the Palestinian security services as a condition for renewing peace negotiations.

    More than a dozen Palestinian security organisations have long operated as independent fiefdoms, contributing to rising lawlessness in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.



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