INTERNATIONAL

Israel not to accept Govt. under Arafat

JERUSALEM SEPT. 6. In a major blow to the U.S.-backed West Asia peace plan, the Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, today resigned, amidst a power struggle with Yasser Arafat over the control of security services.

Mr. Abbas, who was supported by Israel, submitted his resignation letter to Mr. Arafat but the Palestinian Authority Chairman is yet to accept it.

Soon after his resignation, sources at the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon's office said Israel would not accept a situation in which the Authority is ruled by Mr. Arafat or anyone of his choosing.

Mr. Abbas, who was appointed by Mr. Arafat last April under Israeli and the U.S. pressure, had previously threatened to quit. He had been demanding full control of all the Palestinian security services, while Mr. Arafat refused to yield and appointed Jibril Rajoub as the national security adviser in a move considered a direct challenge to Mr. Abbas.

The resignation came despite the Palestinian groups' calls for Mr. Abbas and Mr. Arafat to put an end to the power struggle.

Mr. Abbas' resignation puts the peace process in dangerous straits, the U.S., European and Middle Eastern officials and analysts said.

Hamas founder hurt

Meanwhile in Gaza, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder of the Hamas outfit, was lightly wounded in an Israeli helicopter attack.

The militant group threatened to assassinate the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, after the incident. "We warn Sharon that his head is now wanted by our troops," leaders of Hamas' military wing said via loudspeaker at a Gaza City hospital where Mr. Yassin was treated for a light injury. — PTI

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