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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Abbas Defiant on Order to End Militant Attacks

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Palestinian security forces will fan out near Gaza's borders with Israel within days to enforce President Mahmoud Abbas' order to halt militant attacks on Israelis, their top commander said Wednesday.

Abbas met security chiefs and leaders of Hamas militants in the shadow of a suicide bombing that evoked the obstacles he faces in persuading gunmen to halt violence so he can start talks on a Palestinian state in Israeli-occupied territory.

He is caught between the militants and Israeli demands for an end to attacks as a condition for peace negotiations, and a threat of a military offensive if he does not act soon. Israel cut ties after a deadly ambush at a border crossing last week.

After meeting Abbas overnight in Gaza City, public security chief Major-General Abdel-Razek al-Majaydeh said an "arrangement is under way to deploy national security forces near the borders within two days to prevent violations."

Palestinian checkpoints that were dismantled or destroyed after an uprising against Israel erupted in 2000 were expected to be re-established in areas near settlements and the border, from which elusive militants fire rockets and mortar bombs.

Abbas, the successor to Yasser Arafat, who Israel refused to deal with over unceasing bloodshed in a four-year revolt, had ordered security services to "begin implementing law and order," his office said Wednesday.

Palestinian security forces were anarchic under Arafat, with some members moonlighting as militants.

Aides to Abbas said he discussed with militant leaders the need for restraint, to help ensuring Israel carries out its planned pullout of settlers from Gaza later this year, a step it says it will not take "under fire."

Some militants signaled continued defiance by firing two mortar bombs into a northern Gaza settlement on Wednesday, causing damage but no casualties.

On Tuesday, a Hamas suicide bomber killed an agent of Israel's Shin Bet security service and wounded seven other Israelis in a blast at any army checkpoint near the Gush Katif bloc of Jewish settlements in southern Gaza.

But Islamist leaders, sworn to ousting Israel from occupied lands and destroying the Jewish state, said they were weighing up a cease-fire after having previously ruled one out: "We will listen to [Abbas]. We will discuss his views about a truce, but there will be no final answer in this round of talks [this week]," said Islamic Jihad leader Nafez Azzam.