RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- The new Palestinian security chief said Friday he wants to "put an end" to militias involved in shooting and bombing attacks on Israelis, and Israeli said it would begin building a fence along parts of the West Bank to keep out attackers.
Gen. Abdel Razak Yehiyeh, who was appointed interior minister in a weekend Cabinet reshuffle, said he would first engage in dialogue with the armed groups. Yehiyeh did not say how he would proceed if his appeals go unheeded.
The Cabinet reshuffle, including the appointment of new interior and finance ministers, are part of reforms sought by the United States as a prerequisite for future diplomacy, including the convening of a regional crisis conference this summer.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said Friday, after swearing in five new Cabinet ministers, that presidential and parliamentary elections would be held in December or January.
Israel's Defense Ministry, meanwhile, said it would begin construction of a 75-mile fence along one-third of the unmarked frontier with the West Bank on Sunday. The fence is designed to keep out Palestinian suicide bombers and gunmen who have killed more than 520 Israelis in the past 21 months of fighting.
Yehiyeh, the Palestinian security chief, said Friday, a day after being sworn in, that he would strive to neutralize the armed groups that have been carrying out terror attacks. "We should put an end to all the militias. We should end it completely," Yehiyeh said in an interview with The Associated Press.
"I will not agree in any way to pollute the name of the Palestinian people with terrorism," Yehiyeh said.
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