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Islamic Jihad refuses role in Haniyeh gov't

Dec. 30, 2010 5:03 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 1, 2011 1:08 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Maintaining its position as a extra-political movement, Islamic Jihad officials said Thursday that they had refused a seat on Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's new government.

"With all our appreciation for the invitation from our brothers in Hamas, we of the Islamic Jihad will not take part in the government," a statement from leader Nafeth A’zam read, noting the movement's history of abstentions from local, national and presidential elections.

The refusal comes as a committee appointed by Haniyeh, Hamas leader in Gaza, consults factions active in the coastal enclave in what the prime minister said was an attempt to form a new government cabinet.

Members of the Popular Struggle Front, an independent faction that belongs to the PLO, said on Tuesday that they would only join a government when unity between Palestinian factions was achieved.

Officials from the faction urged Gaza government Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh not to go ahead with a planned cabinet shuffle, saying Sunday that the move would only deepen division with the West Bank.

Haniyeh's spokesman had announced on Monday that a special committee had been formed to meet with factions and national figures and offer them positions in the new government, which sought to include figures beyond Hamas.

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