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Hamas urges Palestinian president to lift Gaza ‘sanctions’

September 28, 2018

Palestinians follow President Mahmoud Abbas's speech at the annual U.N. General Assembly, on a large screen in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared Thursday that his people's rights "are not up for bargaining" and he accused the U.S. of undermining the two-state solution, a day after President Donald Trump suggested for the first time in office that he "liked" the long-discussed idea as the most effective way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers are calling on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to lift what they describe as his “sanctions” on the coastal territory.

Friday’s call followed Abbas’s threats to “give up responsibility” for Gaza if Hamas doesn’t respond positively to Egyptian efforts to broker a reconciliation between rival Palestinian factions.

Abbas slashed funding to Gaza and cut salaries of Palestinian Authority employees there to pressure Hamas into handing over the territory, making it increasingly difficult for Hamas to govern.

Hamas fears Abbas may reduce funding to health care and other services for Gazans.

Hundreds of Hamas supporters marched in anti-Abbas protests late Thursday, burning his posters after his speech at the United Nations.

Hamas seized Gaza after ousting pro-Abbas forces in 2007; the violent takeover led to an Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

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