Ragged Palestinian Forces Struggle to Secure Gaza

(Reuters) Mark Heinrich - Ahead of the Sept. 15 pullout, youngsters are making a daily mockery of security cordons Palestinian forces are supposed to maintain around Gaza's former settlements, as they prepare to take over. It's not just restless youths. Palestinian forces concede they will be no match for armed factions challenging the Palestinian Authority's quest for an orderly takeover in Gaza to make it a proving ground for a future state. "We'll have to rely on the cooperation of the armed groups," said Col. Marwan Awad, watching his men catch up with youths on a sand dune, not far from an Israeli tank, to shoo them away. Law enforcement hardly figures in cities like Khan Yunis, a dusty concrete clutter of 200,000 people and a hotbed of gunmen. Flags of militant groups, especially Islamists sworn to destroying Israel, outnumber those of the PA. "Realistically, there's unlikely to be a dramatic turn for the better or worse on security in Gaza in the near term. This will be no model for a future state," said Mouin Rabbani of the International Crisis Group think-tank.

2005-09-09 00:00:00

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