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Palestinian Interior Minister Appoints Militant To Security Force --> The appointment is seen as a direct challenge to President Mahmud Abbas (file photo) (RFE/RL) April 20, 2006 -- The Palestinian interior minister from Hamas today appointed a man whose group has carried out attacks on Israel to head a new security force made up of Islamic militants.

The appointment is seen as a direct challenge to the leadership of Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas.

The minister, Said Siyam, issued a decree appointing Jamal Abu Samhadana as director general of the Interior Ministry. Samhadana is the head of the Popular Resistance Committees. That group has claimed responsibility for some of the homemade rockets launched at Israel in recent weeks.

The group is also suspected by some of involvement in the bombing of a U.S. Embassy convoy in Gaza in October 2003, when three Marine security guards were killed.