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Ramallah stops paying salaries of Hamas MPs in W. Bank

RAMALLAH STOPS PAYING SALARIES OF HAMAS MPS IN W. BANK

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) has stopped paying the salaries of 47 Hamas-linked MPs in the West Bank, Hamas's parliamentary bloc announced Monday.

"The PA has stopped paying out the salaries of 47 Hamas lawmakers in the West Bank," the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform bloc said in a statement.

It went on to note that the salaries of Hamas MPs in the Gaza Strip had not been paid since 2007, when Hamas wrested the coastal enclave from rival movement Fatah, which leads the PA.

The PA-run Palestinian government in Ramallah, for its part, has yet to comment on Monday's statement by Hamas.

In a related development Sunday, Palestinians in Gaza who were once imprisoned by Israel, and who are therefore entitled to monthly stipends, reported that these payments, too, had been halted.

In April, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who also heads up the PA and Fatah, vowed to take "unprecedented measures" to pressure Hamas to relinquish control of the Gaza Strip and hold fresh presidential and legislative polls in the territory.

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