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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Abbas Appoints Emergency Cabinet, Bans Hamas Militia

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in an emergency Cabinet Sunday and outlawed the militia forces of the Islamic Hamas movement.

Hamas seized control of Gaza last week after a series of bloody battles with Abbas' Fatah movement. The violence left Gaza increasingly isolated, a situation worsened Sunday when an Israeli fuel company cut off deliveries to gas stations in the impoverished coastal strip.

The hurried swearing-in ceremony of the new Cabinet left the Palestinians effectively with two governments -- the Hamas leadership headed by deposed Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza and the new Cabinet led by internationally respected economist Salam Fayyad.

"The first priority of our government is security and the security situation," Fayyad told reporters. "The mission will be difficult and hard, but not impossible."

Abbas issued a decree early Sunday annulling a law requiring the new government to be approved by the parliament, which is dominated by Hamas.

In Gaza, Haniyeh called the new government illegal and insisted that he remains in power. "The council of ministers considers the steps adopted by President Mahmoud Abbas to ... have no basis in law," he said.

The emergency Cabinet is dominated by independents, including human rights activists and business people. Only one, Interior Minister Abdel Razak Yehiyeh, is a member of Abbas' Fatah movement.

Abbas also issued a decree Sunday outlawing Hamas' militias, "due to their military coup against the Palestinian legitimacy and its institutions."