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Thursday, April 28, 2005
  I guess we should start a countdown clock measuring the time until Abbas is assasinated by his own party.
The Washington Times: AP: "JERUSALEM (AP) -- Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas threatened to use 'an iron fist' against anyone who violates a cease-fire with Israel, his toughest warning against militants since taking office in January.

In a speech to Palestinian police, Abbas also pledged to maintain quiet during the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip planned this summer. 'We have to give them a calm departure,' he said, according to a summary of the speech published Thursday by the Palestinian government news agency Wafa.

Abbas has been under heavy pressure from Israel and the United States to rein in Palestinian militants, who had a relatively free hand under Abbas' predecessor, the late Yasser Arafat. But so far, Abbas has preferred to negotiate with the armed groups.

Abbas last month won the agreement of most militant groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to observe a truce with Israel. While there has been a sharp drop in violence, militants have fired several rockets at Jewish settlements in Gaza and an Israeli border town in recent days.

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One salvo landed near a large gathering of Israeli demonstrators in a Gaza settlement on Wednesday, lightly wounding one soldier. Early Thursday, Palestinian militants fired an anti-tank missile at a settlement and opened fire at an army base in Gaza, causing no injuries, the army said.

Abbas said such violence cannot be tolerated."
 
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