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Palestinian forces ready to secure West Bank: General

world Updated: Apr 28, 2010 20:12 IST

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Palestinian security forces are ready to secure the entire West Bank as part of a negotiated agreement with Israel, the West Bank security chief told reporters on Wednesday.

Major General Diab al-Ali spoke a day after some 2,000 Palestinian security forces held a major live-fire drill in a suburb of Ramallah, the political capital of the occupied West Bank.

"We are ready to put a Palestinian soldier on every inch of Palestinian land," Ali said.

He insisted that his forces will not allow a repeat of what happened in Gaza in June 2007, when the Islamist Hamas movement swept forces loyal to president Mahmud Abbas out in a week of bloody street battles.

"The security forces have learned from what happened in Gaza," he said.

He admitted that there had been problems with overlapping powers among the different Palestinian security services but said they now work as a cohesive force.

"This drill was to confirm our readiness for all the security services to work together, and it was not easy," he said. "But today there is no conflict of powers whatsoever."

In the past two years, Palestinian security forces have imposed law and order in several West Bank towns that had been major militant bastions at the height of the 2000 Palestinian Intifada, or uprising.

But while Israel has lauded their efforts and removed some of the hundreds of checkpoints and roadblocks it maintains in the territory, it insists its own forces are responsible for the dramatic decline in violence.