New Palestinian security forces start patrols after deploying in West Bank city of Hebron

Israel Materials 26 October 2008 00:10 (UTC +04:00)

Nearly 600 Palestinian troops have taken up positions in the tense West Bank city of Hebron as part of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' attempt to expand his control in the West Bank and keep the Islamic militant Hamas in line, the Associated Press reported.

Hebron, a former Hamas stronghold, is the third Palestinian city to be reinforced with Abbas' forces. The pre-dawn deployment signaled growing security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

An Israeli army statement said, however, that the Palestinian operation was a temporary measure to help combat Hamas and maintain public order and did not constitute a transfer of overall security responsibility from Israeli to Palestinian forces.

The troops arrived before dawn, during the Jewish Sabbath, a time apparently chosen to prevent protests.