alJazeera.net, 6 January
Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has declared a Hamas security force in the Gaza Strip 'illegal' after a surge in internal violence, officials said.
Shortly after Abbas' statement on Saturday, Hamas announced it would double the number of its 'executive force' in
Abbas's decision is likely to further fuel tension between Hamas and the president's once-dominant Fatah faction.
One Hamas spokesman has said that any action taken against Hamas' executive force, will be met with retaliatory force.
A spokesman for Abbas said: "The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas ... considers the executive force, both officers and individuals, illegal and outlawed."
The spokesman said the Hamas force would remain illegal until it complied with a previous decision by Abbas to integrate into the established security apparatus.
A statement from the presidency said: "The executive force is illegal... and will be treated as such if it is not immediately integrated... into legal security services as stipulated by basic law."
Abbas took the decision "in light of the increasing security chaos, numerous assassinations... that do not spare children, and following the failure by the Palestinian groups and security services to respect the law and protect citizens."
Hamas has warned Abbas not to make any moves against its armed wing, otherwise there will be retaliation.
Khaled Abu Hillal, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled interior ministry, said: "[Abbas' demand] is hasty and we warn against making any move, which will be met with force."
Hamas said it would double its numbers to 12,000 personnel, just hours after Abbas declared the Gaza-based unit illegal.
Islam Shahwan, a spokesman of the executive force, said: "A decision was taken to increase the number of the executive force to 12,000."
"We call upon all sincere citizens to prepare themselves to join the force," he said.
After agreeing a halt to the violence with Abbas on Friday, Haniya called for "an end to the tension."
"I repeat that we have to prevent any fighting," he said.
However, one spokesman for Hamas-controlled interior ministry has accused Abbas of giving the "green light" for attacks on Hamas security men.