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Haniyeh: Gaza security forces will remain

Jan. 16, 2012 11:16 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 18, 2012 11:57 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The premier of the Hamas-run government in Gaza said Monday that the security forces formed since its split with the West Bank would be maintained after any unity deal.

Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, speaking at a police graduation ceremony, said the security forces were founded to serve the nation, and would not be dismantled.

Under a reconciliation deal signed in May with Fatah -- which heads the government in the West Bank -- the parties pledged to integrate Hamas and Fatah's rival security forces, but implementation has faltered as the parties continue to spar over key terms.

Haniyeh said Gaza's police have "clean hands" as they do not work with Israel's occupation, a jibe at the West Bank security forces who are obliged to coordinate with Israeli security under international agreements.

Gaza's security forces were built on the foundations of the Quran and are dedicated to national principles, he said.

Haniyeh lauded the former interior minister Said Sayam, who was killed in an Israeli air strike on Jan. 15, 2009.

The graduation ceremony coinciding with Sayam's death shows that Israel's war on Gaza has failed to achieve its goals, he added.
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